Ellen glanced around the ballroom, excitement sweeping through her. Randall had done an excellent job of preparing for the Christmas Ball at Redford Manor. She thought it might just become an annual event. It should. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Most guests had been chosen by lottery, anyone wanting a chance to attend submitting their name. Although the ball was taking place in a beautifully grand ballroom designed and created a century before, that was where the fussiness ended. People were dressed in their best, whether it was an outfit off a rack from a discount store or from a haute couture designer.
The music, the dancing, was very exciting. It was all Ellen could do to prevent herself from swaying to the strains of the violin and cello. It was a seductive sound, touching something deep inside her. It was times like this she felt the loss of her husbands, Mitch and Jerry, the most. She had been a widow for ten years. Time had softened her pain, but it hadn’t left her completely.
“Are you the queen of the ball?” a deep, rich voice asked, capturing Ellen’s attention from a couple dancing enthusiastically at the edge of the dance floor. Her gaze shifted to two men now standing in front of her. She blinked as her gaze began at the center of a wide chest covered in a crisp white Western-style shirt, to go up and up until she met a pair of amused green eyes. “You must be, because you’re the most beautiful woman here.”
Ellen had heard it all over the years. Many men, and a few women, had tried to put the moves on her. She had always been immune to the obvious come-ons. Firstly because she hadn’t had any interest in sexual or romantic encounters, and secondly because Mitch and Jerry still held a part of her heart.
Determined not to let the handsome cowboy ruffle her feathers, Ellen gave him a polite smile, always cool on the outside while things were heating up on the inside. That caught her by surprise. It had been a long time since she had been attracted to this degree by a man. And there were two of them looking at her, telling Ellen with the expression in their eyes that they liked what they were seeing.
“Thank you, but I’m only one of many attractive women here,” Ellen responded smoothly, a little haughtily. It was a tone that normally took care of bold men.
But these two had balls. They weren’t just bold. They moved a few inches closer, bringing an intimacy to their grouping. It didn’t escape Ellen’s notice that the men touched each other. She felt the growing dampness between her legs. If they stood so close to her much longer, she knew her panties would be soaked with the juices of her unexpected arousal.
“Honey, you are in a class all your own,” the second cowboy told her, laser-blue eyes staring at her hard from beneath the brim of the black felt western hat he hadn’t removed at the door. “Would you honor me with a dance?”
“A nameless stranger? No, thank you.”
The two men grinned, making them both more attractive, if that was even possible. Ellen wondered what the hell was wrong with her. She was normally immune to men, having had no interest in years.
“I’m Chance and my hunky partner’s name is Chase. No, we’re not brothers.”
They did share a similar coloring, dark brown hair, musculature, and height, but that was where the similarities ended. Chance’s face was slightly thinner with high cheekbones. He had blue eyes. Chase’s jaw was square and he had a slight cleft in his chin, and his eyes were green.
“I would hope not,” she murmured, beginning to become flustered, secretly excited by their boldness.
She mentally went over the guest list in her head and found their names. They had been placed there by her employer and friend, Colt Redford. Chance Thorpe and Chase Stroud. She looked them over carefully, attempting to do so surreptitiously. Anything more would appear as an invitation to the men.
How long had it been since she had been with a man? Ten years. Ten very lonely years. She had a decision to make. “I’m Ellen Reed. Now, if you would excuse me, I’m helping with the ball. I have to see that everything is as it should be.”
Ellen knew she had to get away. She couldn’t succumb to their devilish charms. It wasn’t that she believed she would be betraying her husbands. It was because she could tell the two cowboys were nowhere close to her in age. She would soon celebrate her forty-fifth birthday. She guessed the two men were in either their late twenties or early thirties. It didn’t matter which it was; they were too young for her. She had no desire to be gossiped about as a cougar, despite the bait being used to ensnare her.
Chuckling, Ellen was about to walk away when they moved as one to block her. “One dance each, lovely lady. Then, if you’re not completely captivated by us, we promise to never inopportune you again.”
Ellen had mixed feelings about that. One part of her wanted to run as fast as she could. The other part, mainly the one between her legs, wanted to be held in their strong arms, to be held close, as the music led them around the dance floor.
It had been so long.
Ellen didn’t know if there was a sexy way to crawl onto the tall bed. She put her foot on the wooden step beside it, trying to appear sexily confident as she got onto the mattress and headed for the center of the bed.
Self-consciousness really set in as she waited for the three men to finish undressing. Ellen leaned back against the remaining pillows and the tall headboard. Her gaze didn’t know where to settle. Chance, Kane, and Chase were about as perfectly formed as men could be. She noticed scars here and there, causing her to wonder about the stories behind each. Rippling muscles, tanned skin, and trails of hair below their navels both tantalized and intrigued her.
When Chase placed something on the table beside the bed, Ellen felt the relief sweep through her body. While she hadn’t gotten to the point of asking about protection, she would never have gotten so lost in the moment to forget to do so. Having had her tubes tied after a difficult pregnancy with her second child, she couldn’t get pregnant. But there were many other things she did want to avoid.
Chance climbed up on the bed to stretch out beside Ellen. Chase took the space on the opposite side. When she would have expected Kane to join them, she watched as he seated himself in the upholstered chair a few feet from the bed. Her gaze roamed over him. He was relaxed, confident, as he sat there naked, his impressive erection resting against his body. So, she thought, Kane was going to watch the action on the bed. A now familiar thrill ran through her. Mitch and Jerry used to take turns watching the other make love to her.
Ellen’s thoughts of the past scattered to the wind as warm hands began touching her body. They were on her breasts, her stomach, and her thighs. Hot breath caressed the skin of her neck and shoulder as they began to kiss and nuzzle, their tongues sweeping out to lick at her skin. Her nipples, already hard, puckered until they were painful.
A long, low moan escaped her when Chase took a nipple into his mouth to begin sucking at it. Ellen’s back arched, offering him more. Strong teeth gripped it, tugging slightly, before releasing it to stroke it with his tongue. Chase’s hand stroked and molded her other breast.
When the mattress shifted, Ellen opened her eyes to see Chance moving toward her feet. She watched through her lashes as he took her ankles and spread them wide. Her heart began to pound against her ribs as he moved between them. Chance seemed to know she was watching him, because he looked along the length of her body to wink and give her a mischievous grin.
In the next moment Chance lowered his head to place his open mouth over the center of her heat, his tongue sliding between the swollen folds of her sex to find her clitoris. The rigid nub of flesh was ultrasensitive, causing her hips to jerk when Chance’s tongue touched it lightly.
Ellen knew her orgasm was only a breath away. Chase blocked her view of what was happening between her legs when he moved enough so he could suck her other nipple into his mouth. Her hands lifted. One went to rest on his shoulder, the fingers of the other sinking into his dark brown hair. She held on tightly as she closed her eyes once again, focusing solely on what was being done to her body by the two men.
Her body began to undulate with the ever-growing waves of pleasure radiating over her body. Moaning, she tried to hold onto her control. It was a tenuous thing. She was so close, but hadn’t yet reached the point of no return. It frustrated her and her body tensed. Lifting her legs, she slid them over Chance’s broad shoulders and pulled. If that wasn’t a hint for him to stop his playing, she didn’t know what was. She needed for him to be inside her. Maybe that would enough to shove her over the edge and into oblivion.
Chance had other plans. His tongue stabbing into the center of Ellen’s throbbing heat, before sliding back up and over her clit, did the trick. Her back arched off the mattress and she screamed as pleasure exploded through her. It was so intense it was almost painful. Golden stars and flashes of light burst behind her eyelids as she inhaled a stuttering breath.
Collapsing onto the mattress, Ellen felt boneless. Warm lips continued to pull at the cream-covered flesh between her thighs, licking and sucking it away. Her thighs quivered one last time.
There wasn’t one part of Ellen that ever wanted to move again. She was replete. Satisfaction had been achieved and she knew from past experience it would take a lot to stoke the fires of her passion again.
That didn’t mean she would mind the effort Chance and Chase put into trying, she thought as she opened her eyes. Chance licked from her pussy to her belly button, a devilish expression on his face. Ellen smiled at him. The tip of his tongue dipped into the depression, teasing her, before moving upward. Their bodies were pressed together, from ankle to chest.
They were face to face. Chase had moved away. She heard foil being torn. Chance left her with a brief kiss to the lips. Seconds later the bed dipped. She was expecting to see Chase at the foot of the bed, but it was Kane. He kneeled between her ankles and looked down at her. Her gaze slid over the magnificent hair-covered torso to the cock thrusting toward her from his groin.