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Shared - Hot Threesome Romance

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Lily Harlem
19
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Summary

FROM BESTSELLING ROMANCE AUTHOR LILY HARLEM "APARTMENT TO LET: WANTED GIRL TO SHARE" Struggling artist Ariane Arlington flees the Welsh valleys after exposing her corrupt boss. But when the sun rises she finds herself jobless and homeless in Cardiff city with barely a penny to her name. She responds to an advert in the local paper—Room to let, wanted, girl to share. What she doesn’t realize is that the two insanely gorgeous guys who live in the penthouse apartment really do want a girl to share, in every sense of the word. Fortunately for Ariane, rent is the last thing on their minds. She discovers the men are bound together by a turbulent past. Liam, a computer whiz, keeps a painful secret hidden beneath his buff exterior, whilst Quinn, a pioneering neurosurgeon, wonders if he’ll ever meet a woman who can live with his controlling ways. They admit the one thing missing from their lives is a woman just like Ariane, who can handle them both in and out of the bedroom and who, together, they can keep satisfied, loved and most of all, safe. *SHARED TOO is now available so you can continue the story

RomancecontemporarySuspenseSexErotic18+MatureBDSMAdult21+

Chapter One

I couldn’t stay in Merthyr Tydfil another hour let alone another day—not now. Not now I knew what Jed had done and the future he’d been planning for the people I’d come to care about over the last three years.

I gazed out the train window at the Welsh countryside. My eyes were so blurred by exhaustion, it was like watching a dream—thick green flashes interspersed with craggy gray rock and topped with the azure blue of a crisp morning sky. Last night had been a disaster of the highest order. Climbing into bed with my boss was the first major mistake, but looking through his personal files was my second, more shocking dabble with doom. But at least I’d saved the others if not myself.

I pressed my hands over gritty eyes and listened to the rhythmic click, clack, click, clack of the train’s wheels. It was comforting, the solid sound of metal on metal. Each vibration rattling through my body increased the miles between me and Jed and lengthened my distance from his fury.

How could I have fallen for his slick good looks and snakish charm? He was the boss of the small empire known as Boverton Financial Advisors—but now I knew Jed hadn’t wanted to advise anyone except himself. How could I have not seen through his superficial exterior? I’d always prided myself in my good judge of character but somehow he’d persuaded me out to dinner despite a little voice on my shoulder advising me against it.

He’d taken me to Cardamom, the poshest, most expensive Indian restaurant for miles around. He’d wined and dined me, flattered and complimented me. Presented me with a single red rose and toasted his delight at being in my company. His black eyes had sparkled seductively over the candlelit table and eventually the cautious little voice on my shoulder ran as dry as our second bottle of wine. When, at the end of the evening, he’d wrapped me in strong arms and whispered how he’d die without me, how he’d loved me from afar all these years and I was his perfect woman, I succumbed to the moment. I’d been alone since Geraint had left and that was so long ago I’d forgotten what it was like to have a special person in my life. It was time to fill in the blanks and for a moment, a crazy second, I’d thought maybe Jed had the potential to fill the void in my bed and give me the companionship I craved. Maybe even one day the family I’d always dreamed of having.

The countryside thinned, giving way to pockets of houses, enormous warehouses and sprawling outlet stores. The outskirts of Cardiff became a crisscross of roads packed with traffic. Townies heading off to work or to indulge in retail therapy. My stomach twirled with nerves. I, too, would soon be a townie, the country bumpkin in me was in the past now, it had to be. I spotted several sleek apartment blocks in the distance. Wraparound balconies provided the inhabitants with panoramic views of the picturesque capital. They must cost a fortune I thought, fingering the couple of hundred quid I’d taken from my already overdrawn account.

The train slowed, another two whizzing past in the opposite direction, gaining speed. I clutched my sequined evening bag. It was five years since I’d last been in Cardiff but I remembered the buzz of shopping with my flatmate Hilary, the hustle and bustle of Queen Street and the inflated price of coffee in Starbucks.

I sighed. I’d need more clothes than just the ones I was wearing. Something suitable for a job interview, along with somewhere to live, had to be my priorities. But as soon as I had some money to spare I’d revamp my art supplies, find somewhere to buy my favorite Lascaux cotton duck paper and acrylic paints and hopefully start earning money selling my work—there had to be more opportunities for an aspiring artist in Cardiff than Merthyr. Perhaps this sudden upheaval would turn out to be a godsend. Perhaps it would catapult my name into the fine art world and give me the career I’d always dreamed of.

The train came to a juddering halt and the doors hissed open. I stood but didn’t move, instead I let the other passengers barge off before I alighted onto the platform. They all seemed in such a rush, concentrated faces, shiny shoes, swollen briefcases, most had only joined my carriage in the last half hour, and now as quickly as they’d arrived they were gone, stomping ahead of me like a swarm of black-suited ants.

I meandered alone up the grimy stairs into the sunshine. I pulled in a breath of thick city air and looked around, trying to get my bearings. I resisted the urge to let panic overwhelm me—my situation was dire but I was determined to cope by thinking rationally and calmly. I spotted Starbucks and a newsagent next door to each other. That would do for a start, I could browse the local ads for a room to rent and sip a cappuccino—money was tight but these were extenuating circumstances and a coffee was definitely in order if not the breakfast muffin to go with it.

Ten minutes later I had a delicious caffeine buzz swirling through my system and exactly one room circled in the local paper spread before me—it was the only room advertised without a price, which meant it was the only one I had a hope of affording. How all the others could want hundreds of pounds each month plus extortionate deposits was beyond me—hundreds of pounds, for a room, it was ridiculous.

“BAY VIEW APARTMENT,” my lone ad said. “WANTED—GIRL TO SHARE.” Below was a landline number to call.

I tapped my pockets for my mobile and then remembered I’d left it at Jed’s in my haste. I tutted, I needed a phone. But I’d seen a row of coin-operated phones in the station hall so I finished the frothy dregs of my coffee and headed purposefully back.

The phone rang eight times and I was just about to hang up when a deep male voice barked down the line, “Hello, hello. Who is it?” I heard a couple of jagged breaths, as though he’d run for the phone.

“Er, hi,” I said, rubbing my fingers over my forehead. “I saw your advert in the paper, room to let, and I wondered how much you were asking for rent each month.”

“Excellent,” he said breathily. “Why don’t you come and see it?”

“Well that would be great, but I don’t want to waste your time if I can’t afford it.” My chest tightened as I spoke, I didn’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t afford it. Find a hostel or something I supposed.

“It’s negotiable,” he said. “Come see it and tell us what you think it’s worth.”

“Are you serious?”

He laughed. “Sure.” He paused. “What’s your name?”

“Ariane. Ariane Arlington.”

“Pretty name,” he said. “I’m Liam Ross, why don’t you come over now? I’m not doing much today so you could make a quick decision.”

“Oh, but I don’t want to put you out.”

“You won’t be, like I said, I’m in anyway.”

“Okay then, if you’re sure.”

“Absolutely. You want the address?”

“Please.” I fumbled for a pen in my pocket and then scrawled 55 St Dav T on my palm as he spoke. “I’m in town, at the station,” I said. “How long will it take to get to St. David’s Tower?”

“Only five minutes in a taxi, we’re down at the bay.”

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.”

“Looking forward to it, Ariane,” he said.

I replaced the receiver and looked at the blotchy ink on my hand. Odd, I thought, I’d expected a girl to answer the phone since the ad stated “girl wanted to share”. I shrugged. I couldn’t be picky, not when I only had enough cash for a cardboard box! I’d just have to cope with sharing with a guy I didn’t know. Perhaps it was a mixed flat and there was a girl there too. Maybe Liam was one of the girl’s boyfriends?

I pulled out another few coins and dialed Hilary’s mobile. It rang three times and then went to voicemail. “Hi, it’s me,” I said, trying not to feel irritated that she hadn’t picked up. “I had to leave for Cardiff in the night, but don’t worry, I’m okay, I’ll call you later and tell all... Bye.” I clicked it down. She was probably in bed with Karl. He spent most of his time at our flat now. To tell the truth it would be nice to have a break from their gooey eyes and the banging headboard. Not that I didn’t like Karl, it was just feeling like a gooseberry in my own home wasn’t an ideal situation.

I headed out of the station, jumped in a cab and parted with more precious cash when I reached the bay. I looked up at St. David’s Tower. It was a tall, imposing block of apartments, clean white lines and lots of blue-tinted glass on the balconies, which reflected the shimmer of the water below.

There was a silver revolving door leading into a lobby with a shiny tiled floor and several large potted plants. My stomach tightened, preparing to be disappointed. There was no way I’d be able to offer Liam anywhere near what he wanted for the room. The place was beautiful and reeked of money, but I’d arrived now and it would be rude not to show.

I called the elevator and stepped in. Apartment 55 was on the top floor, great—a penthouse apartment, even more expensive.

I examined myself in the smoky mirrors on the inside of the doors. My shoulders drooped despondently, I wasn’t looking my best—my long, black hair was wild tumbling down my shoulders and the curls I normally teased straight had won the battle and coiled like Medusa’s snakes. I looked tired and pale even in the tinted glass. I leaned forward and hastily swiped at a smear of mascara under my right eye. I would have to do, my appearance had been the least of my worries over the last twelve hours. I plucked a lip balm from my pocket and smeared my lips to a soft gloss, straightened my jacket over my little black dress and pushed my hair over my shoulders.

The lift door opened with a ping and as I stepped out my stilettos sank into soft carpet. I was hit with the scent of fresh flowers and turned to see an enormous floral display sitting on a polished mahogany table. I breathed in their powdery perfume and looked around. There was only one front door on the top floor—glossy black and with 55 hanging in big, brass letters.

I stretched my index finger toward the bell, but before I had chance to ring, the door burst in on itself. “Ariane.” A tall, blond guy with a broad grin and perfect golden skin stood before me.

“Liam?” I asked, feeling my breath hitch at having a big, gorgeous man suddenly materialize within a few feet of me.

“That was quick,” he said, holding out a hand. “You must have dodged the traffic.”

I let my hand settle in his palm. It was warm and soft with a haze of sun-kissed hairs leading up his corded forearm. Maybe it was my imagination but we seemed to connect hands for a split second longer than necessary.

“Oh, you’re cold,” he said. His grin slipped.

“Yeah, sorry.” I pulled away. “I’m tired, I always get cold when I’m tired.”

“Had a late night, did you?”

“Yeah.” I frowned at the memory of my shocking, sleepless night. “Something like that.”

He captured my gaze as if trying to read my thoughts, but only for a moment, then his face lit up again and his eyes widened. “Please, come in.” He stepped to one side and swept his hand into the apartment. “How can I expect you to make a decision standing on the doorstep?”

I made no move. “I’m sorry, Liam,” I said, and swallowed a tight lump in my throat. “I’ve already wasted your time and I don’t want to take up any more of it.”

“What do you mean?” His dark blue eyes flashed and his arm dropped to his side.

“This place is absolutely beautiful.” I gestured to the opulent flowers. “But I won’t be able to pay anywhere near what you want for your spare room.”

“Nonsense,” he said, shaking his head. “How can you possibly say that when you haven’t even seen it? It might just be a dusty cupboard.”

I laughed without humor. “I can say that because I’ve barely any money and at present no job to speak of so I’m sure I couldn’t even afford a cupboard, not here.”

Liam folded his arms over his broad chest. His black t-shirt stretched around his balled biceps and strained over his pecs. “I think that’s all the more reason for you to come in. You’re clearly in dire straits, Ariane.” He jerked his head. “I won’t bite.” His voice lowered and became as smooth as velvet. “I promise.”

I wrapped my fingers around the thin strap of my shoulder bag, clenched my jaw and walked in. I would just stay a few minutes to be polite.

Liam shut the door and pressed a hand into the small of my back. “I’ll show you around,” he said, applying gentle pressure to urge me forward. “You can give me a female opinion on each room. It’ll be nice to get a girls opinion on how we’ve done up the place.”