Their virgins secret, p.1
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       Their Virgins Secret, p.1

         Part #2 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black
Their Virgins Secret
Page 1


  Present Day – Virginia

  Burke Lennox stood outside the two story house, his eyes narrowed in study. The gorgeous Victorian practically glowed, a warm welcoming sight in contrast to the frigid wonderland surrounding it. It was a huge damn disparity to the distress signal they’d received earlier. Right now, everything about this place looked perfect and cheerful. Beautiful—a lot like the woman who lived here.

  Looks, Burke had learned over the years, could be very deceiving.

  “She’s still not answering her phone. ” His brother’s voice cracked harshly through the chilled air as he tucked his phone in his pocket.

  Cole was bone-deep tired. Burke could feel the weariness coming off his brother in waves. He was certain he reflected the same back, and that Cole felt it, too. Their mother had termed their odd, silent communication “Wonder Twins” powers. Burke didn’t need to ask Cole how he felt. He simply knew. And they shared other feelings tonight. Desperation. Edginess. They both shook a little like an addict who’d been on the wagon for a long time and realized that he might just get one more coveted taste.

  No doubt about it, they were both addicted to Jessa Wade.

  “Should we knock?” Cole asked, sounding more uncertain than Burke could ever remember.

  Cole was the darker one. He usually plowed through any given mission without ever letting on that he wasn’t one hundred percent confident. But Jessa had knocked him on his ass, and just over a year later, Cole hadn’t quite recovered.

  It had been that long since either of them had laid eyes on the lovely girl. Burke still remembered the last time he’d seen her, naked in a hotel room bed, rumpled sheets around her. Her auburn hair had been a sensual contrast to the white pillow. She’d looked like an angel.

  When he closed his eyes, he could still remember the scent of that room. Jessa always smelled like citrus, sweet and sharp. And that night she’d smelled like sex, like him and his brother because they had spent the whole evening inside her. In her pussy, her mouth, her ass. They had taken her over and over again, as though they could imprint themselves on her.

  She’d been the most gorgeous thing he’d ever seen, ever touched.

  He’d left her there with a promise that he’d be back. Cole had made the same promise, kissing her deeply before they’d gone.

  In the last year, everything had gone to shit. God, sometimes that amazing night felt like a fucking lifetime ago.

  “Why would she leave us a distress message then not answer our calls? Shit. What if she can’t answer the phone because that fucker she married is stopping her?” Cole asked as they walked across the yard.

  Yeah. The fucker she’d married. Angus.

  According to the reports they’d received from the investigator they’d hired to keep tabs on Jessa, she hadn’t let the grass grow under her feet before moving on. Less than three months after they’d left, she’d traveled to Scotland, apparently met and married some guy named Angus, then returned to the States with him in tow.

  Burke could still remember the day their fantasy of Jessa waiting for him and Cole had come crashing down. Their dutiful personal assistant of five years, Hilary, had kept Lennox Investigations running during their long operation in South America. They’d returned home, ready to hop a plane to New York and claim Jessa for good, but their assistant had delivered the terrible news their private investigator had dug up: Jessa was married. He winced at the memory and tried to console himself with the knowledge that he’d given Hilary an extra holiday bonus to atone for their bad behavior that day.

  “He doesn’t take good care of her,” Burke muttered, wishing he could take something apart with his bare hands. God, he knew he had no right to be, but he was really fucking bitter that she’d married someone else. “He doesn’t even shovel the damn walkway. She could break her leg just trying to get her mail. ”

  “Which she clearly retrieved as soon as the storm let up. ”

  Burke’s gaze tracked the dainty footsteps in the snow directly to the mailbox, then back to the front door. It was so damn cold those footprints had frozen in the powder.

  It hadn’t been cold in South America. The weather had been hot, so humid he could still feel the thick air clogging in his lungs. The chill of the Virginia night should have been a welcome change, but it only brought home the fact that he’d spent the worst year of his life in a tropical hellhole doing a job that had cost him and Cole the only woman they would likely ever love.

  But when they’d gotten the urgent call twenty-four hours ago, they’d come running for Jessa, anyway.

  Last winter, as their case had led them to South America and they’d realized just how deep undercover they would have to go, they had left behind a phone number for Jessa to contact them in case she needed anything. While abroad, they’d left that phone with their friend and sometimes employer, Dex James of Black Oak Oil, along with instructions to keep it charged and to contact them immediately if Jessa called. Dex owed them a couple of big-time favors, and it seemed more appropriate to task the man experienced with security—and ménage relationships—than their assistant. That poor woman had enough to keep up with in their absence.

  God, he hadn’t expected to survive the op in South America. In fact, neither one of them really had thought they would make it. In the back of his head, Burke had hoped that Jessa would reach out to them. But she hadn’t called. Finally, nearly a year after they’d last seen her, she’d sent a simple text, which Dex had relayed.

  Please. I need to see you. As soon as possible.

  Burke had instructed Dex to call and find out what she needed, but she hadn’t answered. She hadn’t replied to a text back, either. Three planes, thousands of miles, and not a wink of sleep later, they stood outside her house, wondering what the hell was going on. If she needed help, why wasn’t she turning to her husband?

  Unless he was the problem… Had Jessa brought home a man who hurt her, who scared her so much she would reach out to two men who had left her so abruptly after a few brief days of heaven?

  “There’s no way to know until we find her and ask. ” God, he’d faced down some of the most dangerous men in the world, but one sweet-faced five foot three inch woman had him trembling.

  Perhaps because that sweet-faced woman held way more in her hands than his life. She still held his goddamned heart.

  He stared at the front door, his breath puffing out in little clouds. Jessa was behind that door. She’d built a whole new life for herself while they’d worked that op. She’d left New York and her school, found someone new. Jessa had utterly moved on, while he and Cole hadn’t even begun to try yet.

  The wrongness of the situation hit him. It felt like a blow to the chest. Jessa hadn’t just moved down the road, but from one state to another, from one relationship to another. From one life to another.

  “According to Dex, she didn’t give us her new address. How did she expect us to find her?” How had he missed that? His brain was overloaded with possibilities.

  Cole turned to him with troubled blue eyes. “She can’t possibly have a clue that we know where she lives because we’ve kept tabs on her. Was she trying to get us to New York? Is this some kind of fucking game? It feels all wrong. ”

  Burke was about to agree. Then the lights went out, all at once. Every last one of them.

  “What the hell?” Cole tensed.

  Burke could feel him shift. One moment Cole teetered on the edge. The next, his brother was a predator, his every muscle tense and every sense on high alert.

  Scanning the area, Burke focused on small clues. Despite the fact that the house had suddenly gone black, the snow and the moon
worked in tandem to illuminate the yard. He could see his and Cole’s boot prints. They had already noted the line of smaller prints that ran from the front door to the mailbox and back. He would bet his life they were Jessa’s.

  But he saw another larger set that led from the side yard, then around the porch. The husband’s? Why would he be creeping around the house and onto the outdoor space in January after a fucking snow storm? Keeping as silent as possible, he pointed them out to his brother.

  Cole nodded, already on it. His stare followed the line of prints. Thick, heavy. They were made by boots Burke estimated were somewhere around size twelve, maybe bigger. Definitely not Jessa’s. Probably not Angus’s, given the location. Then who?

  They followed the footprints and found something that scared Burke even more. Someone had stood by her big elm tree. From the number of cigarettes dotting the snow like nasty little scars on a blanket of white, that someone had been there for a while. Five butts. One still spiraled smoke into the frigid air.

  “We need to get inside,” Cole whispered. “Now. ”

  Burke knew it, too, felt the wrongness. Something nasty was about to happen. The world seemed too quiet, as though simply holding its breath and waiting.

  And then he heard the sharp female scream.

  Burke took off, Cole right beside him. He hit the porch at a run and tried the door. Locked.

  Another scream, high-pitched and primal. Jessa. Sweet Jessa, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, was screaming. No words, just screams, as though the horror could only be conveyed by yelling.

  Cole hit the door with his full force. It held strong. The door looked solid, and the glass in the middle was a thick stained glass. But the windows nearby looked to be regular glass.

  There was a heavy potted plant sitting at the doorstep. With a grunt, he hoisted it up and tossed it through the big bay window. The glass shattered, the sound splitting the air. He hated making their entrance obvious, but he didn’t see another quick way in.

  Cole followed his lead, using his foot to shove glass free. He kicked at it, trying to make a man-sized hole. This maneuver had the potential to slice him wide open. Not getting to Jessa was far worse. Her screams echoed through the house now, followed by a loud thud. Burke leapt through the window, wincing as protruding glass cut him. The thick coat he’d bought for way too much money at Dulles protected most of his torso, but his knuckles burned with pain. He ignored it.

  There was a loud hissing sound, and then Burke was assaulted by a ball of fur and rage. Big green eyes. Claws. He couldn’t see it as more than a blur of moving animal parts, but that hiss registered as cat. Again, he was deeply grateful for the parka as the big feline clawed the Goretex, trying to climb Burke like a tree. Wishing he’d bought gloves, he reached for the animal. The cat scratched at him, but Burke took it by the back of the neck and tossed it across the room. It fell on the floor with a thud.

  “Is that loud fucker a…cat?” Cole asked, SIG Sauer in hand, pointed at the animal who snarled and shook.

  “Yeah. Probably Jessa’s. ” She’d talked about buying a house in the country and getting a kitten. Apparently she’d done just that after meeting Mr. Fucking Right.

  The furball whined, assuring Burke that it was still alive. He reached into his holster and pulled his own gun. The weight was reassuring in his hand. He flicked off the safety. “Where is she?”

  Cole pointed toward the back of the house. “The scream came from the back, but not the second floor. ”

  They ran together on nearly silent feet. It was difficult to see in the darkened house. The only light came from the windows of Jessa’s kitchen, casting ominous shadows.

  “Basement. ” Cole pointed down the hall.

  Another scream had Burke running down the hall. His brain assessed the situation, asking all the questions. Was this a domestic situation? If so, how many pieces could he reasonably get Angus’s body into with his bare hands? Or was it an intruder? If so, one or more? What did they want?

  Was Jessa still alive? God, please let her be alive.

  Cole kicked in the basement door. It was dark down there, too. The sharp scent of chemicals assaulted Burke.

  Jessa screamed again, the sound so much louder as they closed in. He charged down the shadowy stairs, his feet taking each step with a short jerk, his hand holding the railing. Cole was hard behind him. No damn way to be quiet now. Whoever was here could hear that they were coming.

  What was that awful smell? Turpentine? Yeah, and a lot of it. He felt the moment his feet hit the bottom, his body jerking to stay balanced. A thin stream of light whirled around, seeking. Burke couldn’t duck fast enough and was nearly blinded when it hit him, his eyes accustomed to the dark. He threw his arms over his face and pressed forward, nearly tripping over something that lay squarely in his path. A body. There was no way to mistake it for anything else.

  “Get out! Get out! I already called the cops!” Jessa’s voice sounded hoarse and shaky.

  “Sweetheart, it’s us. ” Burke took a step toward her.

  “Get out! I have a gun. ” She wasn’t listening. He couldn’t see her eyes, but he could practically feel the panic screaming off her. And she was lying. He hadn’t heard a shot, and Jessa didn’t know shit about guns.

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