5 SHOOTING STARS: "I love returning to Lusty, Texas. I get to reminisce with old friends and meet new ones. I adore Cara Covington’s Lusty, Texas series and found Love Under Two Introverts to be a wonderful addition. It was Gord’s opportunity to shine and boy did he ever! Underneath that shy and polite exterior beat the heart of a warrior. He totally fit in with his more outspoken brethren even if he is much more subdued. I loved his faith in Clay and Tasha. His willingness to try even as he schemed a little was admirable and honorable; much like the man Ms. Covington allowed us to get to know. But he wasn’t the only quiet warrior in this tale;Ms. Covington gave him a worthy partner in Clay. Talk about a protector. His wife dies unexpectedly; he is there for his kids. His son is associating with the wrong crowd, change in scenery immediately. His new life is threatened, and watch out stalker! Even as he struggled to accept an unimaginable loss, Clay worked to protect his children and their future. I loved that his heart was in the right place even as he thought his heart dead. With the support of Gord and Tasha, Clay found himself living again, and not just for his children. Lusty and family worked their magic yet again and not just on Clay. Tasha found herself blossoming under the gentle determination of her new found friends. After dealing with a hurt so personal it affected her sense of self, she was able to trust that Gord and Clay would always be there. I loved that Ms. Covington gave us three souls with such similar hurts but showed us how each handled the pain differently. She then went on to show us the strength that came with communication and acceptance. With a deft hand, Ms. Covington gave us a story of love and support and I continue to be a fan of both her and her writing." -- Luna, Redz World
“We have a plan,” Clay said. “Do you want to hear it?”
Tasha trembled inside, and wondered if they knew. She swallowed and, finding she had no voice, simply nodded.
“We want to dance with you,” Gord said. “Each of us, not both of us, as neither of us has done that yet. But we figured a couple of slow dances, each.”
“Then, because we are a little older, major introverts, and don’t necessarily appreciate public displays of affection, we’d like to go back to Gord’s house and have some coffee. He has a place outside of town on a good-sized chunk of land. Very private.”
“You’re concerned about privacy?” Tasha couldn’t explain why just the thought of being off somewhere private with these two men made her shiver.
Gord shook his head. “Not for us, but for you. We know that you’ve been a bit reluctant to be open to seeing us. We don’t want to put you in an uncomfortable position.”
“We don’t want to center you out or let others think we’re an item,” Clay said.
Tasha hadn’t understood that, while seeking to guard her own heart, she’d sent out unintended messages. She sighed. She really needed to clear the air with these two good men.
“Dances, yes. Coffee, yes. Public displays of affection? We need to talk first but after, if you’re amenable, then again, yes. But there is something y’all ought to understand first.”
She felt them look at each other for a moment.
“And that is?” Clay asked.
“Everyone who was here today already thinks of us as an item, simply because I was with you and the children all afternoon. And that doesn’t bother me, if it doesn’t bother you.”
She noticed two things at once. The first was that Clay tensed, just ever so slightly, just for a moment. And the second was that Gord sighed in relief.
No doubt, a frank discussion between all three of them was in order.
Then Clay held out his hand and said, “Dance with me?”
Tasha put her right hand in his. Gord kissed her left hand, and smiled at her, telling her without words to enjoy herself.
As Clay led her to the dance floor, she decided that, for the rest of the time they spent right here at the community center, she would do just that.
* * * *
The band played fairly well, the ambience of the hall approached intimate, and the woman in his arms felt like heaven.
It had been more than a year since Clay had danced. The last time—and he couldn’t help but think of the last time—had been with the woman he’d believed he would grow old with.
After sixteen years of marriage, he and Vicky meshed well on the dance floor, their movements flowing, in sync, and natural.
Tasha danced well, following his lead, and it bothered him a little that she felt so right within the circle of his arms.
She must have sensed that his mind wandered. “Memories?” she asked.
She deserved better than to have his mind straying to thoughts of his late wife while he was on the dance floor with her. “A few. I’m sorry.”
“No. Please, never apologize to me for the times when those memories rise up. They’re sacred, and a part of the man you are.”
He bent forward and kissed her forehead. “If Vicky’s spirit was standing here beside us, I can guarantee you she’d kick my ass and tell me it’s past time for me to let go, and live.”
“Did you talk about it, the two of you? The way that I’ve heard some couples do?”
She didn’t have to explain her question. Her willingness to be open and listen was just one of the things he really liked about her. “Yes. Only…”
“Only it was you telling her to grieve for a time, and then move on.”
“You’re a very perceptive woman, Natasha Garwood.”
“I am Madam Mysterious. I know all, I see all.”
Clay grinned. It was the damndest thing, but with just a slight change in her facial expression, and the hint of an accent, she looked and sounded like he imagined Madam Mysterious would. “Come here, you.” He tucked her in closer, and sighed when she took his cue and became pliant in his arms. Her head lay just under his chin and her body rested flush against his.
The band played their version of Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You,” and Clay focused on the music, and simply dancing with the woman in his arms.
Tasha’s scent, something light and floral, went straight to his head. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply. Maybe if I breathe deeply enough I can breathe her right in. I could absorb her positive energy, and her joy of living. That was a whimsical thought. Clay had never been given to whimsy.
The band moved smoothly from the slow, romantic beat of Blake Shelton into the slightly more upbeat, instrumental version of Dustin Lynch’s “Wild In Your Smile.”
Clay wasn’t a fool. He didn’t let go of Tasha. He merely increased their tempo—and put just a little distance between them. The second song had snuck up on him—he’d intended to have only one, and then turn her over to Gord.
“They’re good, even without their lead singer,” Tasha said.
He wondered if he was giving off signals that he wanted to keep things light. No, you moron. Men and women do this on the dance floor, too. It’s called talking.
The trembling started the moment both truck doors opened, and Clay slid out, holding open the passenger door for her once more. This time the look in his eyes surpassed hunger. Something feral inside her recognized the expression, the intent, and her shaking intensified.
Gord’s expression mirrored Clay’s and in a heartbeat she managed to put that look into words in her mind. She was their mate, and they intended to claim her. Now.
The veneer of civilization that kept both men in check, waiting patiently with the house door open for her to enter first, was just that—veneer.
The echo of wood slamming against wood still stung her ears when hands reached, grabbed, turned, and then pulled her close.
“I’ve imagined this,” Gord said, “a hundred times. I was going to be romantic and playful and I was going to take things slow.”
Tasha perceived his nerves in the way he, too, trembled. She felt his need in the ridge of his turgid cock, covered with clothing, pressing tight against her lower stomach.
“Fuck slow.” She wrapped her arms around his neck.
“No, I’m not going to fuck slow, princess. I’m going to fuck you.”
Tasha burst out laughing even as Gord lifted her off the floor. She wrapped her legs around him, a vise of flesh and muscle, which she clamped tight. He didn’t carry her far. The world tilted when he brought them both down to the floor in the great room.
The rug before the fireplace felt as soft as it had looked the other night.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t hurt me, Gord. Kiss me, please. I need to taste you.”
He held her gaze for one long moment. Lust, need, love. All three she saw in his eyes. She wasn’t there yet, not all the way to love, and marveled that he could be so soon. And then all thinking ceased as his mouth covered hers.
Warm and wet, wild and wonderful, his lips and tongue slid and delved, and Tasha felt herself sinking into him. His taste exploded on her tongue, marvelously musky, magnificently male, and the thought flitted that she could never, ever, have enough of him. His flavor aroused her, setting into full blaze the fire that had been banked, embers glowing constantly, since Saturday night. Pressed against her clothing-masked slit, his cock hardened. She gave in to the urge, and rolled her hips, rubbing her pussy against him.
His answering thrust sent a tiny, wispy jolt of pure electricity coursing through her.
Gord raised his head, smiled, and placed butterfly kisses on her forehead, cheeks, and nose. Then he levered himself up onto his knees and reached for the hem of her T-shirt. “I need to see you.”
She helped him get her shirt up and over her head. When he reached for her hands, she gave them. He lifted her off the floor just enough. She shivered when Clay moved in and released the clasp of her bra. She looked over at Clay. He must have seen the question in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, baby. You’re going to have us both. Right now, I’m going to indulge my inner voyeur and just watch.”
“That’s right,” Gord said. “So let’s give Clay something to really stoke his fires.” He eased her back down onto the floor and plucked her unfastened bra from her chest.
Gord’s hand cupped one breast. He brushed the pad of his thumb over her nipple and she arched into his touch. No man had ever looked at her with such…reverence. He licked his lips as if in anticipation. And then his gaze tracked down her body.
She knew what he was looking at and tried not to flinch. The scar had faded some, but was still there. It began just above her belly button and traveled down about two inches beyond the waistband of her pants.
He reached forward, unsnapped and unzipped her pants, and moved down her body until he was kneeling at her feet, taking the clothing with him.
It took him no time whatsoever to remove her shoes and socks. His grin, mischievous and whimsical, caressed her heart. “You have pretty feet.”
The compliment made her blush.
Then his smile slowly sobered. His expression was all business now, as he pulled the clothing she’d worn off and cast it aside.
“My God, you are perfect.” His eyes devoured her as his fingers, light and careful, touched and teased. Tracing a pattern from her breasts down to her belly, he stroked his fingers over her scar. “Even this, sweet Tasha. I know what you lost. But I also know this saved your life. That makes it beautiful.” He bent over and kissed it, then straightened again.
Gord’s gaze drifted down beyond her scar. He rubbed his fingers back and forth over her naked mound, and Tasha instinctively flexed her inner muscles. She felt her wetness emerge from her slit, knew her juices were seeping as the coolness of the air caressed her pussy, and hungered for his cock.
As if her single word snapped a spell he’d been under, Gord surged to his feet and tore at his clothes. He kicked out of his shoes, and sent his shirt sailing through the air. His jeans and boxers were shoved south and those, too, were vigorously kicked aside.
And then he came back to her, laid down upon her, and she moaned with the pleasure of feeling his naked flesh pressed to hers.
He raised himself up on his elbows and then kissed her chin. Their gazes met and held and Tasha thought, yes.
“I’m clean. Will you let me have you without a condom?”
“I’m clean, too.” It had been several years since she’d had a lover. Being a practical woman, she had herself tested after Perry jilted her. “I’ve never had a man naked inside me. I’m so glad that you’re going to be the first.”