A Very Bad Thing

Reese curled both hands around the cracked ceramic mug and breathed in the mint-flavored steam rising from the rim. It heated the tip of her nose and brought a much-needed rush of warmth. She’d felt chilled to the bone all morning, and it had nothing to do with the dipping temperature outside.

“So the raid was a success?” The very pregnant Bethany waddled over to the small sofa under the window.

Reese nodded. “We’ve got enough guns and ammo to start a war.”

Bethany’s eyebrows flicked up. “Or a revolution.”

“Same thing.”

“Is it?”

She didn’t even know anymore. Reese lifted the mug to her lips and took a small sip, all the while doing her best to avoid looking at Bethany’s bulging stomach. Seeing it reminded her of her own losses, the choice that had been stolen from her. And it reminded her of Arch, the ginger-haired giant who was never going to see his baby come into this world.

Arch had been a good man, an exceptional soldier. Everyone in town was still grieving for him, but none more so than his woman, whose brown eyes fixed on Reese now.

“What’s going on?” Bethany stroked her belly in absent- minded gestures. “You look worried.”

Reese set down her mug. “Nah, I’m fine.”

“Bullsh*t. Something’s up.”

She hesitated, because she didn’t confide in many people. Sloan was the one she went to when she was feeling vulnerable. Sometimes Lennox. Tamara. But for all the others, she put on a strong front. She was their leader, which meant they weren’t allowed to see her worrying, or vacillating, or drowning in self-doubt.

She’d known Bethany a long time, though. Shit, it had been almost eight years now. The two women were seventeen when they’d first crossed paths. Where the hell did the time go?

“I did something stupid last night,” she found herself confessing.

“Yeah? What’d you do?”

“Rylan.”

Bethany snorted. “Ah. So he finally charmed his way into your bed?”

The humor in Bethany’s eyes was such a welcome sight that Reese’s heart squeezed. In the two months since Arch’s death, Bethany’s expressions had alternated between completely vacant and raw with grief.

“How was it?” Bethany pressed.

How was it? Reese couldn’t even begin to answer that. Hell, she wasn’t sure there were actual words in the English language that could describe what went down between the two of them last night.

No, the three of them.

Her wrists were still sore from Sloan’s punishing grip. He’d held her, restrained her so she was at Rylan’s mercy. Sloan’s mercy. The memory sent a rush of desire to her core, which only confused her body. She didn’t even know who she’d been coming for last night. Rylan? Or Sloan? Or both?

What she did know was that she’d done a very bad thing. A dangerous thing.

Rylan had been as wild and addictive as she’d suspected he’d be, but . . . she’d crossed a line with Sloan. She’d stared into his eyes while she was sobbing in release. She’d clung to him while Rylan screwed her hard enough to make her see stars. She’d threatened their friendship, and for what? A few orgasms?

It wasn’t fair to Sloan. She knew damn well that he wanted her—she’d always known—yet she’d selfishly asked him to be there last night, even though it must have been torture for him.

What kind of friend did that make her?

“You’re worrying me again.”

Bethany’s quiet voice jolted her from her thoughts. “I’m sorry,” Reese murmured. She picked up her mug and took another long sip. “My head is foggy this morning.”

“Good sex will do that to you.”