Manchester Ménage Collection, Book Three
Is there a fated path we follow, or is it simply a series of coincidental events?
Police officer Kellan Howard is rumoured to have spent too much time in sub-zero temperatures, leaving him with a block of ice for a heart and women lining up to help thaw it. Mountain climbing is his only love, leaving no time for a relationship, and although meaningless sex satisfies his physical need, it’s empty. When he attends a fatal traffic accident, he didn’t expect his entire life to change. Along with a final message, Kellan is offered something else from the dying man: the chance to fall in love. Kellan’s never considered being with a man, but when he meets Valentino, he’s instantly drawn to him.
Suffering from crippling agoraphobia, talented Italian artist Valentino has a solitary existence, only experiencing life outside the house through his partner Stuart. When their relationship comes to an abrupt end, Kellan helps ease his suffering. A deep bond binds the two men together, and the sexual tension can’t be denied, but Valentino questions if the distance between their very different lives is too much, and if they can bridge the gap by themselves.
Ballet dancer Blue has a vibrant personality which demands attention, but his humour and courageous attitude are a shield. Blue’s good at making others believe in themselves, but what he needs is someone to believe in him. He could be the bridge both men are looking for, but Blue’s never allowed anyone to get too close, and when Kellan and Valentino enter his life, he desperately tries to protect his heart and his secrets.
When all three meet, the chemistry is undeniable, but each have fears about moving forwards. Together, they learn love comes in many forms. It can’t be restrained or labelled, and it doesn’t always appear in the way you first imagined
“Blue!” both Things screeched at the same time and Blue cringed. “You’re a bunny?”
“Yeah.” Blue sighed. He’d explained this to his sisters, like, four times over the past two days what he’d be wearing for their charity event. If he wasn’t related to them and knew both his mum and dad, then he’d so guess inbreeding was the cause of the Things. “You look awesome!”
Both twins smiled that same bright smile and turned around simultaneously. They always dressed the same, ever since they were born, well, ever since they were conceived really, so it was no surprise both Things insisted on wearing Alice’s blue dress. They looked adorable though. With their flaxen hair tied back with a black ribbon and their pale skin seemingly airbrushed over, Blue was sure they’d get tons of donations.
No one could turn down the mentally handicapped, could they?
Okay, they’d never been diagnosed with anything, but Blue was confident it would happen one day soon.
Porsche and Mercedes gave him a kiss on each cheek, then just stood there… waiting, looking right at him. Expressionless. Serene in their obliviousness.
“What?” Blue looked through narrowed eyes at them.
“What do we—” Mercedes…
They were living proof aliens existed! Seriously, one day some secret government agents would turn up, Area fifty-one-ing the place and taking the twins away for special tests.
Blue turned his nose up. “You’ve worked here, like, almost every day for the past year. What do you mean, what do we do? Work! Do the things you do every day.”
Both Things cocked their heads to the left, and Blue shuddered internally seeing their Children of the Corn vacant look. One of us…
“Okay… so…” Blue stepped back and looked around at all the complicated coffee machines. “You know, do stuff. Coffee shop stuff!” Oh, yes, he was awesome at this managing thingy. “Make coffee!” Yes! He totally knew what he was doing. His one-month experience at Costa was coming back to him.
Unfortunately, he’d been fired from that job… Something about blowing up one of the machines or something — Blue wasn’t really listening because he was covered in sugary foam, and that shit was hard to get out of your hair. Luckily, most of the customers and all of the staff were covered in it too, so Blue didn’t stand out as being odd.
It could have been anyone’s fault. Just because he was the one standing next to the machine and pushing all the buttons didn’t mean it was him who caused it to explode.
It totally was his fault, but still…
That machine was like some sort of bomb just waiting to go off. BOOM! No warning or nothing. Well, there’d been some sort of flashing lights and buzzing, but Blue had ignored them and continued playing around with the knobs and switches.
He failed to mention that part to Shayne though.
For no reason at all.
Considering his duties as supervisor done, he decided to set up three big bright yellow buckets and signs for people to leave donations in, then had some cheese on toast and a coffee. It was actually alright, so the twins had learned something in their year there. There was a constant stream of customers and Blue had to leave his coffee to help serve. Before he knew it, the morning rush was over and he set the twins up in the kitchen so they could start preparing the sandwich fillings for the next wave of hungry vultures.
As he quite obviously didn’t know what he was doing with the coffee machine, when it needed refilling, he called Thing One to come sort it out, and he took her place with Thing Two.
It was while Blue was stuffing his face with a chicken tikka toasted pita that he snuck a peek at Porsche to check she was okay. Left alone to her own devices she could do anything, or more likely, nothing!
He leaned against the door, peeking through the gap in the frame, watching her secretly. He found her standing still, vacantly lost in her own little world while she waited for another customer to come in. He was about to throw a slice of cucumber at her face to see if she was still with them, when the ringing of the doorbell chimed and she came back to reality, smiling pleasantly at whoever walked through the door.
Blue stuffed another huge helping of pita in his mouth, then choked on it seeing who had just come into the shop, coughing up chunks of un-chewed chicken tikka, and making Mercedes run to him, slapping his back really hard! Like toohard.
Crazy bitch was trying to kill him!
She must have some sort of hidden strength because she practically knocked Blue through the open fire door and into the yard outside with one hit. He was choking more becauseof her help. They ended up in the yard, taking part in some sort of teenage girl slapping fight while he struggled to get her off him, and she tried to save him. Blue was acting like some deranged wild blue bunny fighting for his life, and her like some crazed Alice who’d taken too much coke and was off her face, attacking random innocent bunnies.
He could see the headlines of tomorrow’s papers: Alice in Wonderland Charity Event Tragedy. Two dead and more injured. How did it happen!
“For the love of God, stop it. You’re making it worse.” Blue leaned against the wall, rubbing his back and breathing hard. “What the hell is wrong with you? Do you take steroids, have you been working out, what about some sort of alien powers which have appeared as you got older? I knew you were the evil twin. I just knew. Right from birth.”
Mercedes, AKA, Thing Two, stroked his back, cooing at him like some dove. “Feel better now?”
“Feel better? You crazy cow! You just nearly gave me a serious spinal injury. I’m lucky I can still walk. I may need corrective surgery later in life and it will all be your fault, Xena Warrior Princess.” She sagged her shoulders, toying with her hair and looking sheepish. Blue hugged her tightly and gave her a kiss. “Oh, get back inside and finish those fillings before our Shayne gets back. I need to snoop on Porsche.”
His only saving grace was that no one had seen him. So after grabbing a cloth to wipe his face down, he took up his secret position again, spying on his sister and the customer.