Unbridled and Untethered

By: Elle Saint James

After a few seconds of quiet contemplation, Zeke smiled faintly. “Okay. I won’t dwell. At least not for the present. But if I ever see her out and about in town somewhere, I’m taking a shot and talking to her. Maybe she’ll at least give me her name.” Zeke gave him a look like he wanted at least her name, but Clay wasn’t going to break.

“Fine.” He shrugged. “As long as it’s not while she’s here, go for it. Because I’m not telling you her name. And if you ever do find her, but she’s not interested, you back off immediately, or I’ll show you how a big brother protects his female siblings from unwanted advances of a romantic nature.” He pounded a fist into his other palm to make his point.

“Got it.” Zeke saluted him with a growing smile, grabbed the file, and left the building.

Clay wondered if he should warn Emma Rae she had an admirer. More than that, he worried that if he didn’t provide a protected environment while she was here, she wouldn’t come back again.

That wouldn’t do.

He tucked Zeke’s infatuation away and made a mental note to mention it later, if the topic ever came up while Emma Rae was there working. He hoped he’d remember to tell her. Lately his memory had not been up to par. And really, what were the odds that the two of them would ever run into each other.

Slim? None? Well, only if they didn’t see each other in his security fortress again.

Clay turned his attention to another important matter. He needed to call Jake.

Sometime soon, when things weren’t so crazed, he planned to invite his old friend down to the property. He hadn’t seen Jake in person for several years, but they’d kept in touch now and again through e-mails. He wanted to discover if Jake still had the same proclivities he’d had in his early twenties. If he did, Clay wanted to explore a possible future.

Perhaps he could finally participate in the annual Stadium events instead of just watching the shows all alone in his box.

* * * *

Emma Rae made it back to her simple home well before her regular late-night bedtime. She lived in a ground floor unit of an unremarkable apartment complex, but it suited her needs. She took a long, hot shower to ease her bones and take the chill from her skin. She couldn’t get Zeke’s face out of her head. Then she started thinking about what his friend Luke might look like. Dark hair or blond? Light eyes or dark? Tall, short, slim, muscular? She was driving herself mad over men she would likely never see again.

But what else did she have if not her imagination? Still naked from her shower, Emma Rae slid on a short, silky robe and sat down at her home computer to do a little research.

She looked up Zeke’s license plate number from a place she probably shouldn’t have access to and got his last name. Zeke Traynor. A further legal search in the public records for his name yielded a boon. Among other entries, Zeke owned land just outside of Ryder with a man named Luke Benton. After a quick reverie trying to further picture what he looked like, she did a more detailed search of Luke’s name.

How sad that she really didn’t have anything better to do tonight than this. Scoffing at herself didn’t keep her from looking. Ultimately, she didn’t find an abundance of information on Luke. Just an old newspaper photo from more than fifteen years ago showing that he’d completed basic military training, but at least she got a glimpse of his overall appearance. He was very nice looking.

In the picture, Luke looked fairly young. Twenty, maybe. With his short-cropped hair beneath a formal military cap, it was difficult to picture what he might look like now. But she made the effort.

His hair was too short to discern the color, but his eyes were definitely light in color.

Emma Rae shut her laptop but spent a few more minutes daydreaming about both Luke and Zeke. She closed her eyes, let her mind wander freely, and played the what if game.

What if she weren’t so damaged by previous relationships? What if she dared to take a walk on the wild side with these two men? What if she pretended she was a part of their club? What if they came over and gave a hands-on demonstration of their two-men-pleasing-one-woman lifestyle?

A tingle ran down her spine, raising goose bumps across her limbs. In the safety of her mind, she tried to picture what the three of them might do together.

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