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Authors: Stephanie Beck

Mary's Men

BOOK: Mary's Men
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Mary’s Men

 

by

 

Stephanie Beck

 

 

 

Mary’s Men

Copyright © 2013, Stephanie Beck

ISBN: 9781937325909

Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.

Electronic Publication: October, 2013

Editor: Pamela Tyner

Cover: Razzle Dazzle Design

 

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

 

Back Cover Copy

 

Three husbands—a dream come true or a pipe dream destined to break them all?

Mary Duncan likes to think she’s as open as any modern 1960’s woman, but when her boyfriend presents his vision of “family” she finds herself between twin brothers and a cousin—all willing to love her if she’ll have them…together.

Loving Thomas and Paul comes easily, the sexy twins everything she’d never hoped to dream. If not for her new mother-in-law, the gossiping townsfolk, and the wall of silence from her own family, Mary would be in Montana heaven. Just as the young group finally start to find their footing with the new relationship, Duane Paraby returns from Vietnam, reluctant to join the relationship, but an integral part Mary refuses to give up.

When confrontation explodes around them, threatening to terminate their bonds before they’re even set, Paul, Thomas, and Duane will have to prove they have what it takes to be Mary’s men.

 

Content Warning: Explicit sex

 

 

Dedication

 

For my readers who have been so patient for the next story in the Poppy’s Place series. Your notes and encouragement helped make Mary’s Men possible.

 

 

Author’s Foreword

 

When I first wrote about Poppy and her men I had no plans to explore anywhere else, but the characters kept popping up. My readers also made it known they wanted more, so I’ve had the great joy of wandering down the paths of the other characters in the Poppy’s Place series. I look forward to bringing more stories to life.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Mary paced in front of the window. Her aunt had left for the weekend, off to ski in the Rockies with a few of her girlfriends. Mary had almost tagged along, but then she’d gotten the letter. She fingered the crinkled paper in her robe pocket. The notebook paper lacked specialness, nothing at all like the thick stationary her mother used when she wrote, but the words could change her life. If she let them.

Lights from the dirt road two miles from the house made her heart race. The old road led to the farm she’d shared with her aunt for the last four years. No one traveled the treacherous path without reason. The only one she knew who would be driving it this time of night was her boyfriend Thomas. And his brother, Paul.

Mary wrapped her robe closer. Ten o’clock approached, an hour later than the letter said they’d be, but they had driven all the way from Montana. They lived in the mountains, hours away from her home in central Colorado.

The headlights meandered the driveway. The summer rains had turned the dirt road to soup. Thomas mentioned in the letter he expected the drive to be horrible but he and Paul dealt with worse at their ranch.

Until Thomas came into her life, she’d never had a serious boyfriend, but she recognized a wonderful man when she met one. When he’d started stopping by their produce stand the summer before, she’d thought he was cute. Tall, blond, fine boned, and practical, he’d caught her attention.

He’d been attending school at the local university, and they’d dated for eight months before he graduated and headed home to Montana. That’s when things became…interesting.

The headlights stopped at the barn door. Mary had left the porch light glowing, but as she watched out the window as both the driver’s and passenger’s side doors of the truck opened, her hand hovered over the light switch. All she had to do was turn it off and they’d walk away. She could flip the switch, go to bed, and wake up in the morning a single woman.

Two tall frames walked toward the door, shroud in darkness, barely illuminated in the light. If she wanted normal and traditional, she’d turn the light off.

Side by side the two men were the same height. The closer they got to the house, the better she saw them. She froze when she realized they were dressed alike, down to their boots.

Mary stepped away from the door and closed her eyes, mind spinning. The two men approaching the house were not the same man. No, they were Thomas and Paul Paraby, twins from Montana. One held her heart and the other wanted to share it.

 

Chapter 2

 

Paul fidgeted with the itchy collar of the fussy polyester shirt Thomas had bought for him. He hated buttoned shirts with collars, they always rubbed on his neck funny. He’d have thought the garment industry would have figured out how to make a collar comfortable by the 1960s.

“Would you quit?” Thomas snapped. “We need to look and sound the same. If you’re twitching and weird she’ll know it’s not me.”

“Because you’re so normal.” Paul forced his hands to his side as they picked their way through the uneven ground. They should have parked closer. “I still don’t know why we couldn’t wear t-shirts. The whole matching thing might backfire. We’re not the same guy. If Mary thinks she’s getting two Thomases she’s going to be mighty disappointed.”

His twin rolled his eyes, but didn’t slow over the muddy yard. “This will work. Mary is a smart girl. She’s got the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, and with her family history with polygamy we actually have a shot at her going along with this. Don’t fuck this up, Paul. She’s the one I want.”

Paul trusted his brother’s judgment when it came to women. He rolled his shoulders and forced himself to ignore the collar. They were nearing thirty, and Paul was sick as hell of being alone. He worked eighty-hour weeks on the ranch, fighting the elements to make the place pay enough to expand. Living alone while Thomas attended school showed him the life he didn’t want, one of work and loneliness.

When Thomas told him about his sweetheart in Colorado, Paul started falling in love. Five hundred miles away and without ever meeting, Paul threw himself into Mary because he trusted his twin. He’d written her dozens of letters, even sent a few in the last two months. The replies, the friendly notes that shared about her world, confirmed Thomas’s descriptions.

She wrote a hell of a letter. He kept all three in his nightstand, and reread them before bed each night. Thomas had phone conversations with her, but Paul never had time to schedule a call, so he’d been forced to go without ever speaking to her first. If Mary agreed to their plan, he’d need to change his hours. He wanted to, for her.

Only a few feet from the home that housed the woman who’d haunted his dreams, Paul’s nerves multiplied. He didn’t compare himself to Thomas, but he’d lose most intellectual trials with his brother. Time in the big city school also gave his twin shinier manners. Not that he was a heathen, but dressing the same didn’t mean they were the same.

Thomas stepped onto the front stairs, illuminated by a single bulb left on to show Mary was willing to at least talk to them about forming a relationship. The woman he wanted to love waited beyond the door. From her letters, she sounded cautious but optimistic about being together.

“You all right?” Thomas asked.

“Aren’t you nervous?”

He shrugged. “Probably not as much as I should be. I’ve missed her like crazy and the light is on, so she wants to see us. What’s there to be nervous about?”

There was a fucking lot to be worried about, but Paul refused to walk away now. He took the stairs two at a time and knocked on the door. Thomas grinned at him. Though his stomach still turned, Paul felt pretty good too. The time for letters passed. He needed the woman who’d written them.

Several long seconds passed, eons really, before the knob turned. Thomas elbowed him in the ribs. Paul stood straighter, ready to do his part. The door crept open and he caught his first glimpse of Mary. Before him in a pink robe stood the woman from his picture, in the flesh and even more beautiful than he’d imagined.

Damp dark curls surrounded her pretty face, scrubbed clean of any makeup. Slightly pink cheeked, like she’d spent too much time in the sun, she smiled, her gaze darting back and forth between them. He could only speculate what was going through her head. When her eyes locked on his, Paul knew it was his time. He stepped up and wrapped his arms around her.

Mary met his kiss. She tasted like mint and sweet, sweet woman. Paul brought her closer until her body pressed tight to his. Her fingers slid up his neck and into his hair. When he gently ran his tongue across her lips, they opened, inviting him for more. He deepened the kiss, just a bit, and retreated, eager, but not wanting to overwhelm her.

She took over, nipping at his lips with far more enthusiasm than he’d expected. He shifted back to the door to support them both. When she jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist, he held on tight, her little body plastered to his in the kind of welcome he’d envisioned in his dreams. She ran her hands through his hair, tilting his head to the side, demanding more.

He kept his grip at her bottom to keep her supported, but opened his fingers, squeezing the plump muscle of her ass. She moaned and wriggled closer. Her hands moved from his hair to his shirt and undid the fussy buttons, freeing his neck, though it was his zipper that was restricting now.

Thomas cleared his throat, but Paul ignored him. He’d pay the consequences later, but he wasn’t about to set Mary down.

Thomas cleared his throat again. She sighed and eased away, nibbling her bottom lip with lust in her eyes.

“Why is your brother fussing at us?” she asked.

He grinned and kissed her cheek before setting her on her feet.

She stayed close, leaning into his side. “I missed you.”

Too much of him was thrilled at the welcome to totally regret what he’d done. Still, he yearned for the day when Mary kissed him as she had, knowing who he was.

“I’m really glad to see you two getting along so well,” Thomas said, his tone dry, but not judgmental.

Mary pulled away. Paul wanted to strangle his brother for taking the joy from her face and replacing it with horror.

“Thomas?” Her voice cracked as she looked into his eyes.

“I’m Paul. It’s nice to meet you.”

Her gaze shot between the two of them, the silence stretching so long Paul dreaded the next words. She laughed and shoved her fingers in her hair, pulling it tight as she held her head. “I’m…I’m going to pour some wine.”

She walked deeper into the house. Paul looked toward Thomas who kicked off his boots. Paul followed suit and let his brother lead the way. One small, sparsely furnished room led to another until they stepped into a tiny, dim kitchen. Remembering Mary’s list of what she enjoyed, he’d imagined something better for her. She liked to bake and cook—the tiny green oven with a rusty door didn’t appear equipped to do more than the basics. She should have bigger. Not that the cabin he lived in was anything special, but his kitchen beat the hell out of Mary’s.

She pulled a dusty bottle of wine and a few coffee mugs from the windowsill. “I don’t have regular glasses. They don’t make sense anyway. Putting alcohol in a glass with a tippy bottom is ridiculous.”

Thomas leaned against the wall. Though Paul wanted to follow his older brother’s lead since he knew Mary better, Paul couldn’t stand to see her so agitated.

“I didn’t mean to trick you or to be underhanded,” Paul said.

“Are you sure?” She poured wine into her cup. “Because I’m pretty sure you two dressed the same and did your hair the same for a reason. You didn’t exactly push me away.”

“You knew one of us was Paul.” Thomas maintained the slow, nonjudgmental tone.

“You could have corrected me.” She shoved the cork back in the bottle.

“I should have,” Paul said. “My only defense is I’ve dreamed of kissing you since you sent me your picture last month. You’re beautiful. Really, really beautiful. I’d hoped your light would be on, and seeing it…I got excited. I’m sorry if I made you feel…you know, insulted.”

She snorted lightly and shook her head. He couldn’t blame her for not trusting him. Even though they’d written letters, they didn’t know each other as well as they should to embark on this conversation. He wanted to change that nearly as much as he wanted to make his ranch pay, a goal he’d had since his early teens. Mary had been a possibility for only a few months, but she grew more important every day.

She took a sip from her cup, keeping her eyes on him. She wore her emotions on her face. The distrust faded quickly, replaced again with uncertainty. “Take a seat, guys. I have a feeling this might take a while.”

BOOK: Mary's Men
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