“Pardon me?” Seated in a chair across from the office’s newest assistant district attorney, Zarah Elliott-Masters frowned, hoping she’d heard him incorrectly.
“We leave Wednesday and could be gone as long as a week,” Radley Raymond repeated, his expression all business. “We’ll stay as long as is necessary to get what we require.”
He might have graduated top of his class from Harvard Law School and come from a long line of old money and brilliant legal minds, but with Zarah having twin babies at home and with only five days until her Valentine’s Day plans with her husbands, his timing sucked.
“I’m sorry, Radley, but less than two days doesn’t allow me enough time to make arrangements for my family. To be gone an indefinite period of time, I’m afraid, is unacceptable. I simply can’t be away that long,” she said.
Nor did she want to be.
“You’re efficient and organized. Two days is sufficient time for you to prepare. So your children’s fathers will have to step up to the plate in your absence.”
Radley was tall with broad shoulders, his build athletic. His dark hair was trimmed in a style that was both professional yet casual. More than once in the lunchroom she’d heard the women she worked with commenting on how dreamy his chocolate brown bedroom eyes were.
Zarah was a woman and not immune to the appeal of a handsome man. She wondered why Radley wasn’t decorating the pages of GQ magazine, or perhaps modeling underwear on a billboard, with his chiseled features and strong jawline, instead of wasting those good looks in the courtroom. Regardless of those good looks, something about him rubbed Zarah the wrong way. But she couldn’t quite put her finger on why.
Despite Radley’s “hottie” status -- at least according to the female masses -- his relationship status was single. Therefore he had no family at home to consider.
Zarah scowled in frustration. She’d been working with him for the past month preparing for the office’s latest high-profile case, and she had yet to find anything to like about him. He was a demanding hard-ass who failed to give reasonable consideration to anyone’s responsibilities outside of work. He pulled the longest hours in the office and expected as much from those on his team.
“Husbands,” she corrected. “I am legally married to Jack. And my relationship with Lane is just as significant.”
Neither Zarah nor the guys ever flaunted their unique union, but they didn’t keep it a dirty little secret, either. There were times when meeting new people the trio found themselves on the receiving end of scowls and raised eyebrows. However, after asking those pertinent questions such as “whose bed do you decide to sleep in when?” and “you have sex with both men at the same time?” and once their curiosity was satisfied, most people usually didn’t care.
Radley Raymond fell into the former category. His censure of their ménage relationship had been crystal clear when he’d first been introduced to Zarah, Jack, and Lane at the office Christmas party just two months earlier.
“Since the new witnesses are unable to come to us, we will go to them. I need someone to take depositions, et cetera.” Radley continued without acknowledging her amendment.
“You have a secretary, Radley,” she countered, shifting in the chair. “Surely Alyssa will be a more useful assistant for you than me.”
“I think the female witness would be more comfortable speaking with a woman of…color,” he added.
Oh no he didn’t.
Zarah raised a brow. Last she checked the year was 2011; how was it that in this day and age some people still had issues with color? And in his position as assistant district attorney? That was unforgivable.
“I’m not offended by the term black,” she told him in a snippier tone than she intended.
“I didn’t mean it like that. My oldest sister, as well as a cousin of ours, is married to a black man,” he returned.
She didn’t have any use for his ass-kissing. This was her job and, despite the ick vibe she’d gotten from him during their introductory meeting, Radley’s case would receive 100 percent of her efforts. Cozying up to the man himself was another story.
“That you’re a new mother would be a benefit as well.”
She relaxed marginally at that.
Zarah had been back to work a couple of months following the birth of her and Jack’s twins seven months earlier. Though she missed being at home with her babies, she loved the challenges her position with the district attorney’s office provided and was excited to be back at work. She’d been settling into routine, and things were going well.
At least up until a week ago when Radley had promoted -- or demoted, depending on which side of the fence you sat -- Zarah to his personal assistant, fetching his morning coffee, ordering in his lunch, and organizing his schedule. She had yet to receive a “pick up my dry cleaning” memo, but supposed it would be forthcoming the longer she worked with him.
Zarah assumed the reason behind her latest influx of duties was the numerous closed-door meetings Raymond conducted with his secretary. Alyssa was a petite brunette with wide round eyes, full pouting lips, and a set of implants Chesty Morgan would envy.
“I want you,” he said, then added before she could respond, “Stephen says you’re the best and gave his stamp of approval.”
“Oh,” she replied. Steven Webster had been sworn in as the DA shortly after Zarah went on leave. He was a man Zarah looked up to and greatly admired. Of course he would have recommended her for this assignment; her record was impeccable.
“Just out of curiosity, how long has this excursion been in the works? We’ve been working together on this case for a month, you three weeks before that. Why am I just learning of this now?”
He dropped the pen in his hand onto the desk. “From the beginning. With witnesses popping up all over the place, the trip was inevitable. I figured you’d received the memo.”
Of course, she hadn’t.
Radley stood, walked around his oversized oak desk, and strolled toward the door -- a subtle signal that their conversation was over.
“The arrangements have already been made, Ms. Elliott,” he said.
“Elliott-Masters,” she corrected. “Or plain old Zarah is fine.”
“The hotel is booked. There is a schedule of appointments slotted with the witnesses. We’re out of here in two days.”
Zarah stood and ran a hand down the front of her skirt, smoothing away imaginary wrinkles. With her yellow legal pad in hand, she turned and walked across the office. On her way out the door, Radley leaned in, and his arm brushed along hers as she passed. Goose bumps erupted on her skin.
“Stop by Alyssa’s desk for a copy of our itinerary,” he directed.
Zarah pasted on a pleasant smile, when inside she really wanted to jam the heel of her suede pump into the top of Radley’s highly polished loafer.
“Of course, Mr. Raymond.”
Inwardly Zarah bitched as she strolled down the hallway to the large open-concept office where the assistants to the DAs and twelve ADAs were working. Fingers tapped vigorously on keyboards, and muted voices carried on conversations both on the phone and off. She stopped in front of Alyssa’s desk and stood in silence, waiting for the other woman to finish whatever held her enthralled on her computer monitor.
After a few moments of being ignored, Zarah softly cleared her throat.
Alyssa scowled up at her.
“Mr. Raymond said you have our itinerary for our trip leaving Wednesday,” Zarah said with a smile.
Without a word and with a glower on her usually pretty but overly made-up face, Alyssa thrust a file folder at Zarah and went back to more pressing matters on her monitor. Obviously the other woman was unhappy about Radley excluding her from this trip.
“I hope your day gets better,” Zarah announced before turning away.
In the basement library of the office, she fumed. This business trip couldn’t have come at a worse time. Valentine’s Day was the coming Monday, and she had been planning something special for Jack and Lane since Christmas. She’d made arrangements for the twins to spend the night with Rita and Mack Davis on Saturday so that she, Lane, and Jack could have the house to themselves. The three of them needed some “grown-up time” together.
Wicked and depraved grown-up time.
Along with the typical exhaustion and upheaval that came from bringing a new baby home, both babies had also suffered colic, but of course not at the same time. They’d each endured mild colds over the holiday season, but of course not at the same time. Diaper changes and feedings seemed endless. And within the last week, their daughter, Magan, had cut her first tooth. Madan, their son, not willing to be shown up by his sister, wouldn’t be far behind.
Regardless of the fact that there were three adults in their home tending to the never-ending needs of two infants, following the birth of the twins it was somewhat expected that Zarah, Jack, and Lane’s sex life would be a temporary casualty.
With Jack running his own tow truck business, Lane working as a paramedic, and Zarah devoting her time to motherhood -- and now returning to work as well -- at the end of the day exhaustion always lurked in the shadows.
She and Jack made love, and she and Lane made love, but the three of them hadn’t been together since the day the twins were born. And as far as she was concerned, that was so very long ago. While she savored snuggling between the solid, warm bodies of her two lovers in bed at night, she craved being sandwiched between the two of them as they fucked her silly.
Zarah longed for the exquisite sensations of one of them sliding into her pussy, filling her, while the other stretched the snug muscles of her backside. She yearned to be squeezed between their hard frames, to feel their hands on her breasts, caressing her body. Needed them to claim her, own her, possess her, and consume her. She needed them to fill the void their dry spell had left in her.
Just as she was feeling the loss, the connection of their ménage, she knew Jack and Lane were as well. No words needed to be spoken for her to recognize they too were missing the absence of that special part of their union. Neither man would begrudge her the time she devoted to their babies, but before babies, the sex between them had been bountiful, spontaneous, and so incredibly decadent. Après babies, there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, little spontaneity and, although she cherished making love with each of the guys separately, there was always a slight something missing.
The other man and what he brought to their unique sexual dynamic.
Zarah’s intentions were to spend the upcoming weekend dedicated to her lovers, squished deliciously between Jack and Lane, rekindling their love, and spending two entire days screwing each other senseless. They needed to find their way back to that special place that had brought them to each other in the beginning.
It would be heaven.
But now, thanks to the pompous and arrogant ADA Radley Raymond, her plans for their carnal rendezvous would have to be postponed.
Zarah scanned the itinerary in her hands and knit her brow. Hmm, the only thing missing on the schedule was time for an occasional food, bathroom, and sleep break.
She cursed Raymond’s hide.