Authors: Stacey Espino
Being the fifth wheel on a group camping trip isn't Bella's idea of a good time. Rather than sulk, she decides to explore the old growth forests. She finds more than expected during her innocent hike in the woods. What will she do when two gorgeous men want to claim her body and soul?
Ben and Draco both believe they've found their mate—a human no less. Who does she belong to? They're both determined to win her over and be the first shifter to administer their love bite.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
Love Bites 2
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IMPRINT: Ménage Amour
Copyright © 2011 by Stacey Espino
E-book ISBN: 1-61034-466-9
First E-book Publication: May 2011
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2011 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
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Love Bites 2
“How much for a blow job?”
Bella whirled around, clutching her purse against her body. “Excuse me?”
As soon as she asked the question, she glanced down at herself and the surrounding area, realizing exactly what the man implied. He thought she was a fucking hooker. For the love of God!
When Amanda had told Bella to dress “hot,” she assumed her friend had meant for her to dress sexy, not for the weather. They often went to clubs on the weekends, so the request didn’t surprise her. Considering the sweltering heat and the questionable corner she was expected to wait at, Bella probably should have dressed for the weather. The sun had long set since she finished work at nine. She had just enough time to run home, shower, and change, before boarding the bus to meet Amanda at Bridgestone and Maple, the seediest part of town.
“How about five bucks?” asked the man that clearly didn’t belong in the ghetto. He was clean-cut, about twenty pounds overweight, and probably had a wife and kids waiting for him at home. Sometimes men sickened her, and right now she felt ready to hurl.
“Do I look like a five-dollar hooker to you?” Anger laced her question, even though she probably did look the part with her shorter-than-short black miniskirt, knee-high leather boots, and red leather tube top. Hey, a girl deserved to let loose and have fun. Dressing the part didn’t mean she jumped into bed with any man. In fact, it had been a long three years since her last boyfriend, but she wasn’t sweating it. With her luck though, she’d land a Prince Charming that came to street corners like this after work, only to return home and play Mr. Innocent. She didn’t have the time or energy to deal with losers like that.
“Oh, Christ. Fuck off!” She crossed her arms over her chest, the valley between her breasts slick and moist from the humidity that wouldn’t let up. The man turned and disappeared into the shadowed streets, his footsteps marking a hasty retreat. Now that she thought about it, Amanda better hurry up because standing out here wearing next to nothing was a very bad idea. The next guy that came along could be a lot more threatening than the wannabe John.
Bella paced the sidewalk, hugging her purse to her bare midriff, and praying that her ride would show up soon. Only the streetlights changing in a regular pattern—green, yellow, red—at the intersection kept her company. She realized just how much she must resemble one of those elusive ladies of the night. If she got another indecent proposal before Amanda showed up, she’d have some serious self-esteem issues.
Since it was a clear night, she noted that the moon was nearly full, so grand and dominant in the night sky. She couldn’t peel her eyes away, craning her neck back to study the moon’s irregular surface. The sight brought her a sense of peace and comfort, as though the moon were a companion always keeping watch over her from above. It had been ages since she’d connected with nature. As a kid, she’d reveled in country life, savoring every moment she could spend at one with Mother Nature. Her parents were more than happy to spend the money to ship her off to expensive horse and survival camps for the summer. They had been her happiest memories growing up. Bella could handle the outdoors with her eyes closed and hands tied behind her back. She could outride any cowboy and prided herself on her survival skills. There was a box of old trophies and badges buried in her parents’ basement to attest to her superiority in outdoorsmanship.
That was the past.
Now Bella lived in the city, working a near minimum wage job with long, tiring hours. But it’s what she wanted—freedom and independence from her wealthy, controlling parents. Her parents felt like strangers, always speaking in riddles and never allowing her to cut loose and have fun like her friends. Her father continually told her she was special, which was why he felt the need to be so overprotective. Bella didn’t buy it. She’d live off the street rather than spend another year locked up in their deceptive paradise.
She closed up shop at nine most nights and was too tired to party afterwards, so basically she lived for the weekends. At twenty-nine, her days of partying became less and less fulfilling, but since it was Friday night and her only weekend off in a long time, she was up for anything.
Her roommate Amanda had met her “true love,” or so she believed, so Bella’s days of shared rent were drawing to a close. Of course, she was a bit jealous, even though she loved Amanda. Sitting on one sofa eating nachos while her best friend giggled and cuddled with her boy toy on another became nauseating, Bella looked forward to a night out with just the girls. She dressed to kill because she wanted to have a blast, to forget her financial worries, forget she was miserably single, and forget the fact that she wasn’t getting any younger.
A car horn honked three times, loud, echoing off the mostly abandoned buildings. Bella jumped, her heart pounding behind her ribs. She turned to see the black SUV pull up alongside her, the streetlights reflecting off the sleek, painted surface. As the window lowered, techno music permeated the night air.
Amanda poked her head out the window. “Sorry we’re late, Bells. Get in.”
She didn’t recognize the vehicle. Both she and Amanda took the bus, and Amanda’s boyfriend, Keith, had a blue Honda. With the SUV’s windows heavily tinted, Bella couldn’t see who was driving, but opened the door to climb into the backseat beside her friends.
The interior smelled strong of expensive leather. Keith sat up front beside the driver, a guy she’d never seen before. His short, dark hair was gelled back, and he peered at her from the corner of his eye, with a smirk on his lips. Another good friend of Bella’s, Sara, sat next to Amanda.
“What’s going on?” asked Bella as her back hit the seat from the sudden acceleration.
“It’s a surprise,” said Amanda, who leaned to the side to appraise Bella’s attire. “And what on Earth are you wearing? I told you to dress for hot weather, not like a skank.”
“No, you told me to dress
, and I did.”
“I guess you can change when we get there. I’ve packed your things for you.”
Bella wasn’t one for surprises. The more she knew, the better. “For what?”
They pulled onto the highway, heading north. Bella’s body tensed. She felt as if she was being kidnapped, and the anxiety she always tried to keep in check, bubbled to the surface. “We’re going camping.
“You’ve got to be kidding me, Amanda.” She felt smothered, mentally tallying up the occupants in the car—two couples…and her. No way would she be the fifth wheel on a camping trip. An unplanned camping trip. It was bad enough listening to Amanda fuck Keith in the next bedroom when he slept over, never mind the same tent. She was going to kill her friend. That’s the way Amanda was though, larger than life, determined to get her own way.
“It’ll be fun. Listen, I’ve had to hear about your old camping stories for almost a year now. So now it’s time to own up to your claims. I know you’ll have a blast.”
Bella leaned close, whispering into Amanda’s ear. “Are you fucking nuts? You’re both bringing guys and didn’t think I’d feel uncomfortable being the only solo party on the trip? Shit, do you ever think?”
“It’s not like that. The guys are gonna be off doing guy things. It’ll be just the three of us most of the time. Just try to relax and enjoy yourself.”
“This is ridiculous.” She shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest. “We’re not even prepared. Where’re we even going?” From Bella’s experience, a camping trip was a big ordeal requiring at least a day’s worth of planning and packing.
“I packed everything. Don’t worry. Dave knows of the perfect secluded spot off the Cariboo Highway. It’s a long drive, but worth it. Try and get some sleep.”
With a heavy exhale, Bella twisted to face the window. She tapped down her rising anger because she knew from experience how quickly she could lose control. Why fight it? Amanda always got her way in the end anyway. Sometimes she felt like they were an old married couple the way they’d argue and make up.
Camping? Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get out of the city. The constant cycle of work and sleep could really drain the life out of a woman. Though she would have much preferred just the three girls, no boyfriends, what was done was done. Worst-case scenario, she could take off on her own and do some exploring and hiking. She’d bet her life that she’d outshine the two men when it came to survival skills. Men always had to be the best, had to be the providers and protectors. Bella needed neither.