“Thank you.” She picked up her cup and blew across the top, appreciating the excuse to ignore the brimming smile across Chase’s face or the nonstop tingles running up her skin where it made contact with either brother.
“No coffee for you?” she asked Kyle as she sucked in a deep fortifying sniff. The familiar scent helped to settle some of her rattled nerves, though nowhere near enough for her to feel normal. As far as she was concerned, a good cup of coffee could solve all the world’s problems. Or most of them. But being sandwiched between the Mannings appeared to be beyond coffee’s magical powers.
He shook his head. “I can’t stand the stuff.”
A bubble of a laugh echoed up her chest. “A cop that doesn’t like coffee, I’ve never heard of such a thing.” It felt good to joke with him. It almost made her feel normal. Nothing about this night was normal in her book, but when he laughed she could almost believe it was.
He chuckled along with her. “It’s been a major career obstacle.”
“I can only imagine how it stopped you from rising to the top.” Since the Frostbite Falls police force entailed only two positions, sheriff and deputy, there wasn’t a long ladder to climb.
“Oh yeah. Though I do like donuts. So I have that.”
“Good.” She grinned back at him over the top of her coffee cup. “At least your job won’t be in that much jeopardy.”
“I think I’ll be okay.” He kicked his feet up on the coffee table. He looked so at ease, she was jealous of him. Lydia wasn’t sure she’d ever felt that comfortable in her own skin. Even in her own apartment, by herself, she rarely felt as at peace as Kyle looked now. She always worried there was something she should be doing, someone she should be helping. Sometimes she just worried for no good reason at all.
“Is there anything else you need, honey?” Chase grabbed his own mug, his eyes never leaving her as he took a swig of the light coffee. Her eyes dropped to his Adam’s apple, suddenly fascinated by the way it bobbed with each sip.
She shook her head. “No, the coffee is more than enough. I’m putting you out enough just being here.” She could almost hear her mother’s voice in her head. Be nice. Put others first. Don’t be a bother. She wasn’t obeying any of those rules today. The exact opposite in fact.
Kyle’s eyebrows scrunched, but she ignored it, taking a sip of her coffee. It was still hot, but the warmth coursing to her stomach felt good. The brew was comforting in its familiarity. Everything would be all right as long as she had a cup of coffee in her hand.
“We like having you here.” Chase’s words sounded so honest she tightened her fingers around her mug so hard her joints locked. When she glanced up, the smile on his face almost did her in.
“I don’t understand why you’re being so nice to me.” She looked into her coffee, unable to meet their gaze. She didn’t want to see what they thought of her after she’d talked to them so bluntly.
But she hadn’t been able to stunt the words. Their behavior set her off balance, and she didn’t like it. Lydia was used to being the nice one. The one who put everyone at ease. She didn’t know how to handle them treating her the same. “You don’t have to.”
“Why shouldn’t we be nice to you? You’re the one always making sure everyone else is comfortable and at home. Why shouldn’t someone want to do the same for you?”
Sure, she was prone to putting everyone around her at ease. She just felt more comfortable that way. And what was wrong with that? They were happy and she was happy. Everyone got what they wanted.
“I don’t need—” But before she could argue with them, Kyle interrupted.
“You may not need it, but you deserve it. Whether you want to believe it or not.”
No one had ever said anything like that to her. She had no idea how to respond. Their kindness and awareness made her shaky and uncomfortable, like she’d walked off the map and had no idea where she was anymore. “I don’t know what you want from me.”
She was used to fading into the background. That’s the way she’d lived her life. At least until she’d come to Frostbite Falls. She couldn’t fade to the background here no matter how hard she tried. Though that was Jason’s fault as much as hers. Another parting gift from her ex. She wasn’t used to being seen by anyone, but especially not anyone like the Mannings or the warm jittery feelings their attention created inside her.
“We want you.” The simplicity of Kyle’s words startled her almost as much as what he expressed.
Her mouth dried. Her whole body froze and set ablaze at the same time. Images formed in her mind. Fantasies were all they could be. Right? “To do what?”
“We want to be with you. We both do.” Chase’s hand brushed against her knee, the slight touch, combined with his words, had her jumping. A throb echoed between her legs. At least that was a familiar sensation. One she was used to feeling when she thought about the Mannings and their bodies this close to hers.
She looked back and forth between them. “Both of you?”
Kyle traced his finger down the side of her face in a slow, sweet gesture that had her whole body tingling. “Is that so surprising?”
The words Jason had yelled at her as he ran out the door still echoed in her ears. The same words that had been running around her head since the day he’d told her he wanted to cancel their wedding because he’d found someone else. That he’d only wanted her because he thought it looked good to have a sweet mousy wife on his arm at company picnics and holidays. That said, without a doubt, she wasn’t what these men wanted, no matter what they thought.
“Do you want both of us?” Chase glanced between her and his brother as his hand continued a little further up its path. Not far enough to make her truly uncomfortable, but enough her heart almost pounded out of her chest.
“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.” It was a blatant lie.
Inside his bedroom door, he lowered her to the ground. Her bare feet met the ground, having lost her shoes somewhere around the dining room. But he didn’t release his hold around her, keeping her warm body pressed against his. Needing the feel of her next to him to make sure she was really there.
“I don’t know what that idiot was thinking.” He placed his lips on her neck, and only sweetness met his mouth, like she bathed in sugar. A little noise fluttered from the base of her throat. Not exactly a moan but getting a lot closer. He’d have her moaning soon enough. If he had his way, she’d whimper with pleasure so many times she’d never question how hot she was ever again. And if she did, he’d be right there to tell her the truth.
The door clicked shut, and he glanced up to see Kyle watching them from a foot away. His hungry eyes focused on the gorgeous woman in Chase’s arms. The woman they were determined to make theirs.
“I agree, sweetheart.” Kyle walked the remaining steps to Lydia. She jumped a bit at the sound of his voice, as if she were surprised he was there, though Chase wasn’t sure why. They’d been very clear about wanting her together. Luckily, Chase’s strong hold around her waist kept her from squirming too far away. “I don’t see anything cold at all.”
He kissed her neck as Kyle found the zipper of her dress and yanked it down. The hiss of the teeth parting sang through the air and right into his blood, jittering through his body like he’d drunk fifteen cups of coffee in one sitting. A responding shiver ran down her spine, right below his fingers.
Her warm body snuggled up against him. All softness and fragrant and female. “No way. There isn’t anything cold about you, honey.” Not a damn thing he could see.
A startled gasp escaped her lips, as Kyle brushed his fingers beneath the thin straps of her dress and pushed them from her shoulders. Without the support, the dress fell to a puddle around her ankles, leaving her standing in only her white lacy bra and panties. Simple and perfectly Lydia. Her breasts almost expelled from her bra. One pink nipple edged out of the cup, sending a flame of lust to his aching cock.
He traced a finger along the cup, loving the way her pale skin flushed a pretty pink beneath his touch. She was so responsive, and she didn’t even realize it. All molten lava underneath, waiting for the right man to tap it. “Nope, all I feel is warm.” He shoved the fabric down, exposing the light pink nipple to the air. It puckered immediately, and his whole body surged forward, needing to be closer. He gusted a breath across the tight bead, teasing her with the almost touch of her breath. “No, you’re more than warm. You’re fucking hot, honey.”
“Chase.” She tangled her fingers in his hair, tugging him a fraction closer to her plump breast. His cock responded, hardening to almost painful proportions against his zipper. It hurt, but not anywhere near as much as keeping his mouth off her.
“See what I mean,” Chase whispered against her skin, turning his cheek to brush his evening stubble against her breast. Her breath shuddered beneath the touch. “That’s not the reaction of someone cold.” But it was the reaction that had him hard as fucking steel. Everything she did set him flaming higher, and she had no idea. Which only made it more spectacular.
“No way does a cold woman react like that.” Kyle’s lips found the edge of her ear and nibbled on it. His hands slipped around her rib cage, holding her steady. Chase took the hint and sucked her nipple into his mouth.
She whimpered beneath the touch. Her hands fisted in his hair. Her back arched, pushing her breast closer to his mouth, and he took full advantage, sucking more of her flesh between his lips. No matter what she might think. No matter what that asshole told her. There was nothing frigid about her reactions to them. Not a damn thing.