TRUTH OR DARE
Games We Play, Book 1
Releases Tuesday February 14
After their drunken ménage goes wrong, Gwyn wants nothing more to do with Berke and Cam. Too bad her family’s ghosts have other ideas.
Gwyn has her hands full these days trying to help save the family business—a quirky hotel on the Jersey Shore called the Wild Geese Inn. She has no time for romance. But when the two men with whom she once spent a drunken ménage weekend show up with a sexy proposition, how can she resist? Berke and Cam might have broken her heart seven years ago, but Gwyn is older now and wiser. She’s not looking for forever. She just wants a good time. And, after all, it is Valentine’s Day.
For Berke and Cam, the weekend isn’t just about fun, or adding some spice to their marriage; it’s about winning back the woman who got away, and convincing her to give a committed three-way relationship a shot. They each have skills that could help make the hotel a success—and they’re not above bartering to get what they want. but first they have to get past the walls Gwyn’s built to keep them out. But while Cam’s biggest concern is making sure Gwyn doesn’t break Berke’s heart a second time, Berke is worried about how his husband will react if he learns Berke’s the one who screwed things up for them all the first time.
Here’s an excerpt:
Out of the corner of her eye, [Gwyn] caught a flicker of motion on the stairs. She ignored it, as she usually did, and went on with her work. A moment later, a current of air seemed to rise from nowhere. Outside the wind howled. A shadow passed across the wall. Cold air swirled around Gwyn for an instant and then was gone. That was a little more worrisome. In general, the ghosts only produced drafts when they were on the verge of manifesting something unusual.
Gwyn sighed and shook her head. Perfect. Because “unusual” was just what they didn’t need this weekend. Grams had always insisted the ghosts only hung around because they wanted to help the family. Gwyn had yet to be convinced.
Brenda could argue all she liked, but everyone knew the Wild Geese Inn was haunted. It was a big reason they found it hard to keep people on staff. There were doors that opened or closed by themselves, lights that flickered or burned out too fast, voices whispering in the hallways when no one was in sight. The staff had already presented her with a list of the rooms they refused to clean—a fact she’d been careful to keep hidden from her cousin. It wasn’t like those rooms needed to be dealt with very often anyway, unfortunately. When they did, Gwyn took care of them herself. As a teenager, she’d worked as a maid here every summer. It was like riding a bike.
A couple of minutes later, the hotel’s big double outer doors slammed open, banging against the walls of the enclosed entryway. Gwyn glanced up, annoyed. What in the hell were the haunts up to now?
She was surprised—and to be honest, more than a little relieved—to see actual, corporeal people in the glassed-in entryway. Two men, one wearing a long black overcoat, the other in a navy peacoat and jeans, were struggling against the wind to re-close the front doors. She perked up at the thought of customers. Ghosts were fine, in their place, but they didn’t pay the bills.
Having finally triumphed over the doors, the two men paused to stomp the snow from their boots. Gwyn watched them appreciatively. She couldn’t see their faces clearly through the fogged glass of the entryway windows, but they were both tall—one more so than the other—and athletic-looking, well worth ogling. Then they turned toward each other, tenderly brushing stray snowflakes from each other’s shoulders and out of their hair, and her heart melted. Her hand strayed to her throat, and she absently fingered the gold and garnet triquetra pendant she always wore. The camaraderie between the two men, their ease with one other, was obvious from clear across the room. It touched her in ways she didn’t quite understand.
It had been years since she’d seen two men this comfortable with each other, so at home. She didn’t even remember when the last time was. Then the taller and fairer of the two men said something his dark-haired companion found funny. He threw back his head in a laugh, and suddenly Gwyn recalled exactly when she’d last witnessed something like this.
“Yeah, Weidman, stop complaining. At least you have your hot girlfriend to keep you warm. Speaking of which, I’mma think I have to borrow her. You up for sharing?”
“No way,” she whispered, horrified, as the blood drained from her face so quickly she nearly passed out on the spot. “No fucking way. It can’t be.”
Gwyn had never been one to hesitate in the face of disaster. She jumped from her seat and grabbed the handle of the reception room door without waiting to learn whether her suspicions about the men’s identities were correct. Someone else could deal with this shit. Brenda, for example. Gwyn was almost positive her cousin was here somewhere tonight. She’d track her down and let her check them in. Or send them away? Oh yes. That would be even better. Although that option might take some explaining.
The door had other ideas about her leaving. It refused to open. No matter which way Gwyn turned the handle, the door didn’t budge. This is not happening, she thought as she started to panic. Behind her, two sets of footsteps crossed the lobby and stopped. She pushed at the door. Still nothing. Damn it!
“Miss?” A familiar voice spoke up behind her. “Miss, can you help us? Excuse me, miss?”
“Someone will be with you in a moment,” Gwyn said, attempting to make her voice as impersonal as possible as she continued to pull uselessly at the door.
A moment’s dead silence met her response. And then, “Gwyn? Is that you?”
Gwyn took a deep breath. You can do this, she told herself firmly. Her “useless” Theatre Arts degree and the years she’d spent in amateur productions had to be good for something.
“What can I help you with?” she asked as she turned around. Two familiar faces stared at her—as though she were the ghost.
Berke looked stricken. Cam’s mouth had dropped open. Gwyn smiled blandly back at them. Please say nothing. Please say you just got lost and need directions out of town. Please, please, do the decent thing and leave.
“Gwyn, it’s us,” Berke said.
No shit? Her gaze tracked blankly across their faces. “Is there something I can do for you?”
“Gwyn…” Berke said again in a heartrending tone that made her want to break character and kick him. Preferably down a flight of stairs.
“We, uh, have a reservation,” said Cam, who’d finally succeeded in getting his jaw back under control. Ooh. Give the boy a star.
“Oh yes? Well, let’s see now…” Gwyn glided back to the desk and slid gracefully onto the stool. She’d never in her life been more grateful to her Aunt Norah for having insisted all three of the cousins attend deportment classes as children. She opened the reservation calendar and stared sightlessly at her screen. “What name am I looking for?”
“It’s, uh, under Steiner?” Cam said.
Yes, of course it was. Gwyn blinked furiously in an attempt not to frown. They’d been booked into the Captain’s Room for two nights. Whoever took this reservation was so fired. And yes, that was unfair and ridiculous and probably not even legal. She didn’t care. What the fuck was she supposed to do for the next two days—hide? No. Screw that. This was her home. They didn’t get to come here and act surprised to see her. Stupid bastards.
“I’ll need to see identification and a valid credit card.”
Cam fished them out and handed them to her. As she keyed the information in, she found herself babbling, making up fees and restrictions as she went. “There’s a key deposit that will be deducted from your bill when you check out. How many keys will you be wanting?”
“Okay, so, that’s two deposits each—one for each day of your stay. Plus there’ll be an additional amount added in the event you lose them both.”
“I’m sure we won’t.”
“I’m also placing a hold on your credit card against any damages to the room. That should be lifted within ten business days of checkout; if it’s not, you’ll have to take it up with your credit card company. Checkout is at nine a.m. If you’re more than an hour late, you’ll be charged for the extra day.”
“Nine a.m.? Isn’t that a little early?”
She smiled tightly. “Yes, it is. There are several other hotels in town, and they’re likely to have other hours. If you wish to cancel your reservation here, I’d be happy to waive the usual two-night cancellation fee. Should I do that now?”
The two men exchanged a look. “No,” Cam said grimly. “That’s all right.”
Damn. “Okay, so let me just add the nonoptional resort fee. Oh, and since you’ll be staying in a nonsmoking room, I also have to charge you a nonrefundable deposit in the event you smoke in the room.”
“Nonrefundable?”Berke’s voice was edged in disbelief. “But we don’t even smoke!”
Gwyn bit her tongue before she could ask when he’d quit. “As I said, if you’d like to cancel now…”
“No.” Cam growled. “We’ll take it.”
A shiver of something that was not, not, not longing swept over Gwyn at the sound of that gravel-voiced tone. “Fine.”
She turned away from them to collect their keys and pull their paperwork from the printer. “Your room’s on the third floor. There’s no elevator. There’s a staircase directly behind you, and another at the end of the hall.”She turned back again and laid the keys and the paperwork on the counter. “Sign here and here. And here’s your receipt.”
Wordlessly, Cam grabbed the paper, pocketed both keys, and slung the strap of his overnight bag over his shoulder.
“Gwyn, I—” Berke tried again, but Cam interrupted him.
“Let’s go,” he said as he grabbed Berke’s arm and forcibly hauled him away.
“Have a nice stay,” Gwyn called after them in her perkiest voice. She stayed where she was and continued to smile maniacally until they’d disappeared from sight. Then she slumped forward, resting her head and arms on the desk. “Out of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world,” she said with a groan. Seriously, though. How was this even possible?