Authors of awesomeness (a self proclaimed title) Lila Dubois and Mari Carr have a new book out! They’ve finished their first menage story (heh–that sounds dirty) and I have them on the blog today talking about it.
Thank you for having us! We’re really excited about this book. Not only is it our first collaboration, but it’s the start of a great new series called The Trinity Masters.
Elemental Pleasure, focuses on Carly, Preston and Lance, who are members of the super secret society the Trinity Masters. A secret society that demands the members be in menages are picks out their love interests What could go wrong?
When Carly Kenan joined the secretive Trinity Masters in college, she knew that one day she’d have to pay the piper. That day has come. Returning to Boston, Carly meets former Marine Lance Glassco, a mathematician for DARPA, and Preston Kim, a celebrated chemist. Though on the surface they have nothing in common, it’s clear the Grand Master thinks that together the three of them can do something amazing. And that’s why he’s declared that Carly, Lance and Preston must unite. In a ménage.
Tempers flare as they struggle to understand each other, but their physical attraction is explosive, and the sex leaves all of them begging for more. Pushed beyond her limits, Carly runs from Lance and Preston. What she doesn’t understand is that she now belongs to them, body and soul…and they belong to her, too. When Lance uncovers a dangerous crime in Preston’s firm, Carly is caught in the crossfire and the struggling lovers are forced to move beyond desire…to trust.
The Trinity Masters have the power to make careers and change lives, but there’s a price. All members know that the day will come when the Grand Master will select them, and pair them with two others. For the Trinity Masters the strongest bond isn’t a pair, but a threesome.
This book has sex, mystery, sex, adventure, sex, and two men who are alpha males in completely different ways.
Here’s where you can get the delicious Elemental Pleasure:
Smashwords (all other formats)
Here, just for you, is the prologue and first chapter. Yum!
Copyright 2013, Mari Carr, Lila Dubois
The Grand Master sat as his desk and studied the files lying there. Three people. Three lives. Their destinies lie in his hands.
Leaning back in his leather chair, he let his gaze travel over the portraits on the walls—paintings of the men who’d served in this position before him. Men who had been called to lead one of the most powerful organizations in the world. They had taken their position seriously, understood the gravity of their choices. His decisions, like theirs, could influence the future and bring fate to its knees.
The Trinity Masters were a secret society, as old as the U.S. sect of the Masons, but unlike them, the Trinity Masters were still a secret. It had been started by some of America’s founding fathers as they sought to replicate the networks and relationships that drove European society in America, a country that was wild and new. Hundreds of years later, the Trinity Masters counted some of the most powerful people in politics, science, the arts and even religion among its members. It was credited, though only in secret, for developing the relationships that had driven much of America’s success.
Being a member meant access to people, money and power.
In exchange, you gave them your future. And that future was the Grand Master’s to decide.
He looked at the pictures again. A pretty, dark-haired woman. Brilliant, creative. An attractive, serious-looking scientist, driven, powerful. And the final, a soldier. Strong and courageous.
Yes, he decided. All the pieces were there. He sealed the letters, prepared them for the messenger. It was time. Together, they would make a powerful bond.
A perfect trinity.
She’d made a deal with the Devil, and now the Devil had called to collect.
Carlene Kenan pulled her scarf up around her neck. At home in California it was a sunny, warm seventy degrees, but early March in Boston was still winter, and the wind whipped down Boylston Street as she stood outside the imposing Boston Public Library.
Carlene rubbed her cheek against the baby soft cashmere of her scarf. It cost more than her parents had made in a month when she was growing up. Those days were long gone, thanks to a deal she’d made nearly ten years ago. With her dark hair pulled up in an elegant chignon, a black wool coat, cream scarf and knee-high black boots she looked exactly like what she was: a beautiful, successful woman.
Had it been worth it? Her success had surpassed even her wildest dreams, but all her success had come at a price. Now it was time to pay up. She wouldn’t know if had been worth it until she went inside.
The city moved around her, everyone with somewhere to go, something to do. Another minute ticked by, but Carlene still couldn’t bring herself to mount the steps and face the consequences of her achievements. Someone bumped her, forcing her forward a step, and she hitched her designer bag higher. The man who bumped her, chatting away on his phone, turned to glare. When he caught sight of her he stopped mid-word, fumbled out a smile, then slunk away.
She mounted the steps. It was something she’d done a hundred times before while a student at Harvard. A computer science major, the public library had always been a chance for her to get away from her electronics, and to honor the lineage of scholars and invention that had been trailblazers to the world she knew.
And in her junior year the library had started to play a new, and secret, role in her life.
The grand hallway, with its arched and illustrated roof, was bustling with people, though the noise was muted, the hush of a library. The heels of her boots clicked against the stone floor as she made her way to the elevator. She rode it to the top level, where there were fewer people. By the time she reached the rare book room she was alone in the quiet hallway that smelled of books and secrets. There was a keypad on the door. She paused, realizing his instructions hadn’t included a code. Surely it wasn’t the same one the society had used when she was in college?
Pulling off her leather glove, she folded and tucked it into her pocket. As she reached out, she noticed her fingers were trembling. She curled her hand into a fist, willed herself to be calm, then reached out again.
There was a click as the door opened. Carlene turned the handle and let herself in, careful to close the door behind her. The code was the same. She wondered what else would be the same.
The rare book room was small, with each rack dedicated to a subject. There were a few tables, each with a box of cotton gloves placed precisely in the center, so the rare books could be handled without picking up corrosive oils. Behind a section containing maps and diaries said to belong to members of the semi-secret Masonic Temple was a section of wall with a triangle inscribed into the plaster. She touched her scarf, which hid the chain she wore with the same symbol hanging from it. Below the triangle were three words. “Mitimur in Vetitum.”
“We strive for the forbidden,” she whispered, tracing the words.
Her stomach clenched and her fingers trembled. She was terrified of what she’d find beyond that door, of what she’d discover in the temple of the Trinity Masters.
With their help Carlene’s company was now one of the fastest growing in the industry, and at only thirty-two she was well on the way to becoming very, very wealthy.
Taking a deep breath, she placed both hands on the triangle relief and pushed. A section of wall popped in, and then slid to the side, disappearing into a pocket. She passed through and waited in the darkness on the other side as the door shut, sealing her inside.
Once the door was fully closed the lights clicked on.
The small foyer was exactly as she remembered. The room was small enough to be mistaken as a closet, if anyone who was not a member ever found their way in here. The walls were paneled wood, the floor the same carpet as the outer room. An empty book cart took up a third of the floor space. Turning to her right she examined the panels there. There were numbers etched into the wood, seemingly at random.
The Grand Master’s instructions had said she was to open box thirty-one. Pressing her finger against the number she felt a click. When she pulled her hand back a small tray popped out of the wall. Reaching in, she took out a key and a small piece of paper.
You’ll find garments in room C. Right hand corridor.
Wait until you hear the bell.
The note was written by hand, and Carlene shivered a little. The Grand Master was the head of the Trinity Masters, and a man of unspeakable power and influence. No one knew who he was, though there were plenty of rumors. At the Trinity Masters annual gatherings, hidden inside library benefit galas, Carlene had done her share of gossiping about who he might be.
Now she wasn’t curious, she was afraid.
Note and key in hand she moved the cart out of the way and, with another push, opened the door hidden in the back wall. It revealed a narrow elevator. When she pressed the button, the door opened and Carlene stepped in. She took a moment to gather herself as the small, wood paneled elevator took her down to the sub-basement. When the elevator stopped and the door slid to the side, she bit the inside of her cheek to center herself.
A long marble hallway stretched out in front of her. Columns supported the double-high arched ceiling, which was a smaller replica of the grand hallway above. Her footsteps rang as she made her way along the hall, the sound bouncing off the walls to echo down to the grand double doors at the far end. There were no books here to muffle the sound. At the midway point there were openings in the walls, one to the right, another to the left. She’d been in the left hallway before. There were changing rooms there, elegant as the locker rooms in a fancy spa. For ceremonies all members wore robes to protect their identities, and those with the most need for secrecy had private dressing rooms.
As she turned right she wondered if that’s where she was going—to a private dressing room. Now that she had been called to the altar by the Grand Master, she supposed she’d earned a private dressing room.
After all, she was about to meet her husbands.
Or maybe it would be husband and wife.
Her hands shook, and it took her a few tries to get the key into the lock on room C. Once in she found a small but well-appointed room. A white robe waited on a hook. Normally they wore gray.
Setting her purse on the vanity she touched the robe. “It’s like a wedding dress,” she whispered.
It would be the only wedding dress she’d ever wear.
In exchange for the Trinity Masters’ help, she’d given up her future, specifically her choice of whom she would marry.
Throughout history the world had been secretly controlled by relationships that defied societal standards. Some of those relationships had come to light, the most famous of which had been Vice-Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who’d been in a relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton and Sir William Hamilton. The gossip papers of the nineteenth century had called it an affair between Lady Emma and Lord Nelson, but it had been so much more. The three-way union between them had helped end the Napoleonic wars, and both Emma and William had mourned Lord Nelson after his death.
The Trinity Masters believed that when three people were united it created a bond far stronger than the pedestrian two-person marriage, and that these marriages, if made between those with power and intellect, had the capability of changing the world.
Carlene slid out of her clothes, leaving on the corset-bra, panties and garter set she’d bought especially for today.
She’d joined the Trinity Masters as a college junior, at age nineteen, when the idea of some crazy secret ménage marriage had seemed like a fun lark. In her twenties she’d enjoyed herself, knowing that there was no need for her to worry about falling in love or getting married. By the time she was twenty-eight and her friends were married, some expecting children, she finally understood what she’d really given up.
However, the consequences of crossing the Trinity Masters were too dire to contemplate, and so here she was, waiting to meet the people she’d share the rest of her life with.
She checked her hair and makeup in the mirror before raising the hood and tugging the chain out from under the robe so it lay on her chest in plain sight, the triangle glinting in the low light.
Taking a seat on a velvet chair, she breathed deeply, trying to calm herself.
A bell rang, the deep sound vibrating through her. She looked up as a door in the wall opposite where she sat opened.
Rising to her feet, Carlene took a breath and walked through.
Preston Kim stretched and then slowly sat up as the bell rang. He was in one of the Trinity Master’s private dressing rooms. It wasn’t the first time he’d merited the honor of one of the private rooms, but it was the most important.
Preston smiled and rose to his feet. He pulled the black hood over his head, hiding his dark hair and eyes.
It felt like Christmas morning. Anticipation hummed through him, and yet he didn’t want to rush. He wanted to savor it, wanted to remember every detail so that he’d one day be able to tell his children how dad had met Mom and Mom, or Mom and other Dad.
The same way his parents had told him.
Preston was a legacy to the Trinity Masters. His parents—Dad and both Moms—were members. His biological mother had married his father in a traditional ceremony several years after the three had been married by the Grand Master. He and his sister were raised by all three parents. He’d grown up knowing he was the child of something special, powerful, and secret. His Dad, Mother, and Imo—the name he and his sister used for their other mother, which was a bastardization for the Korean word for aunt—were now all immensely powerful in the world of education. They’d been joined together by the Trinity Masters at a time in their lives when it seemed they had nothing in common—an electrical engineer, a junior political aide and a mathematician. Many years and two children later, his father, the engineer, and Imo, the mathematician, owned an educational company that developed much of the technology and curriculum used at the country’s leading science magnet schools. His biological mother was a lobbyist, who worked to keep the money flowing to education no matter what happened to the national budget.
And now it was Preston’s turn to meet his partners.
The call from the Grand Master had been both welcomed and poorly timed. Though he’d been waiting for years to be called to the altar, his company was having financial trouble, with lower profits than projected in the last quarter. He’d walked away from a financial report—which was far from his favorite reading material—to fly to Boston. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to put work concerns away. Today was too important.
The door opened and he stepped through.
The room on the other side was small, intimate, not the massive gathering room with its stone altar. The floor and walls were marble. Three high-backed wing chairs sat in a semi-circle, facing a large metal medallion in the center of the floor. A rectangle of lighter colored stone led him to the chair farthest to the right. A soft sound made him look left, and he saw two other robed figures, one in black and one in white, emerging. Turning his attention to the center, he followed the path in the floor and took a seat in his chair. There was the rustle of fabric and the pad of feet as the other robed figures took their places. In the shadow of his hood, Preston grinned.
Light illuminated the bronze medallion with the Trinity Masters symbol and logo, as well as the chairs, but the corners of the room were cast in darkness. It couldn’t have been more than a minute before a patch of shadow detached from the wall and came forward to stand in the center of the medallion. He wore a black robe trimmed in gold. A heavy chain draped his shoulders.
The Grand Master.
Preston sucked in a breath. He’d been introduced to the Grand Master as a child, and seen him at the galas and initiation events, and yet he still scared Preston. He knew, from hearing his parents’ whispered conversations, that if crossed, the Grand Master was ruthless. It was said that he’d not only ruined members who disobeyed their laws and ignored their vows, but had them imprisoned, sometimes even killed.
“Welcome.” The Grand Master’s voice was deep, commanding. His hood moved from side to side as he looked at each of them. Preston thought he caught a glimpse of a nose or chin in the darkness off the hood, but he couldn’t be sure.
“Grand Master,” he murmured in greeting. He heard the others do the same.
If the robe colors hadn’t given them away, the voices would have. There was one man and one woman. He felt a small moment of disappointment. Secretly he’d hoped for two women—he’d always thought his father’s life seemed more than agreeable, but growing up as he had made him more open-minded than most. He would accept the other man into his life, and into his bed, if they were attracted to each other.
Preston had never been with another man, but there was a first time for everything.
“When you joined the Trinity Masters, you made a vow. You pledged your lives to our cause and our traditions. The time has come for you to meet your partners, your lovers, your spouses.”
The words rang, echoing off the walls. He thought he heard a small sound of distress from the woman, hidden in her virginal white robe.
“When I call your name, stand and remove your robe.”
Preston’s belly lurched. This was it.
Lance Glassco’s fingers tightened on the arms of the chair. The wood groaned as his knuckles turned white. He wanted to jump from his chair and pull down everyone’s hoods. He hated the secrecy, hated not knowing what was going on.
Hated not having control.
Joining the Trinity Masters had been a blessing. Without them stepping in at several key points in his career, he would probably be dead, another fallen Marine in some desert. As it was, he was a proud United States Marine Corps Reserve Officer, and mathematician for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research and development arm of the Unites States Armed Forces.
Personal relationships weren’t his strong suit. He needed rules and guidelines, and relationships—or more accurately women—didn’t come with either. Knowing that the Trinity Masters would someday step in and tell him who to marry had relieved him of the burden of worrying about it.
It wasn’t until he’d gotten the letter from the Grand Master that he realized exactly how much control he’d given up. He had no say in who he’d marry, and he didn’t even get to pick if they’d be men or women. Since receiving the letter, his frustration had grown to the point that he could now feel it boiling under his skin.
“When I call your name, stand and remove your robe.”
Lance froze, his shoulders cramping from the tension in his arms and back.
To his left the figure in the white robe rose from her chair. Her hands were slim with painted nails.
He was glad at least one of them was a woman.
She threw back her hood and Lance jerked in his seat. She was beautiful, with creamy pale skin and dark hair. Reaching back she did something so that her hair fell down around her shoulders in pretty waves. He wanted to bury his hands in her long tresses, to taste those pink lips. Her gaze met his, though he doubted she could see his face under the hood. Then her face moved from him to the other man, before looking at the Grand Master once more.
The Grand Master raised a hand, and Lance frowned when he noticed he wore gray gloves. The Grand Master motioned to her, the twitch of his fingers impatient.
The woman, what was her name? Carlene, that was it.
Carlene’s fingers moved down the front of her robe, undoing the small hook and eye catches that held it closed. As she did, the robe fell apart a bit, giving him teasing glimpses of flesh.
When the robe was open, she grasped the edges. There was an expression on her face that Lance couldn’t read.
He sat forward, anxious to see what she hid under the enveloping material. Her gaze focused on him. She raised her chin and dropped the robe.
Lance was sure he’d break the chair he gripped it so hard. She had long legs and full, lush breasts. She wore some lacy thing over her belly and breasts. A tiny pair of panties covered her sex, and garters held up dark stockings. Her face was beautiful in a way that made him think of the porcelain dolls his mother collected, but her body was lush and soft, made to be touched and stroked.
Lance sat back, his frustration gone, replaced by a need to have her.
And have her he would. She was his.
Lance had been so wrapped up in imagining what he’d do to Carlene that he’d forgotten this wasn’t just about the two of them. He looked to his right, where the other figure in black now stood. The hood fell back to reveal a tall man with a lean handsome face. He had dark hair and slanted eyes that probably meant he was at least part Asian.
Preston’s gaze focused on Lance, and Lance felt the challenge.
Black velvet dropped to the floor. The other man wore a pair of dark boxers. He was trim and muscled. Lance was sure he could take him in a fight, but it wouldn’t be easy. Preston reminded him of some jungle cat, maybe a black panther.
Finally it was his turn to stand. Lance rose to his feet. Impatient he stripped off his robe, throwing it to the floor. He looked at Carlene, saw her brows go up as she caught sight of him. He’d kept up with his physical training while in the reserves. He wasn’t vain, but he knew that physically he was a good specimen. And his Mama always said he was handsome.
“You now belong to one another. Come forward.”
Barefoot, they approached the Grand Master, stopping when they too stood on the medallion. He grasped each of their right hands, bringing them into the center. Taking the chain from around his shoulders he bound their wrists with it. Lance saw Carlene shiver as the cold metal touched her.
Lance’s hand was on top of hers, and he squeezed her fingers. She looked at him, and Lance smiled. She tentatively returned the friendly gesture.
“Preston,” the Grand Master said.
The other man stepped forward, his hand, which lay atop Lance’s, tightened, and Lance tensed. Reaching out with his free hand, Preston cupped Carlene’s face. Her eyes widened as Preston pulled her head to his.
He kissed her long and deep, their cheeks only inches from Lance’s face. Desire warred with jealousy. Lance wanted to be the one kissing her, and yet he liked seeing Preston touch her. That didn’t make any sense.
Lance hated things he couldn’t make sense of.
The instant Preston pulled back, Lance jerked Carlene to him. Burying his hand in her hair he nipped her lower lip, demanding she let him in. When she took a breath he pressed his tongue into her mouth, tasting her sweet flavor.
Preston touched his bare back, hand sliding over skin and muscle. Startled, Lance ended the kiss when Preston reached for him.
Lance knocked his hand away. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Dark eyes examined him. “The same thing we just did with Carlene.”
They stared at each other, right arms held awkwardly, hands still bound together by the chain.
“Don’t touch me,” Lance snarled. It wasn’t that he had a problem with men touching each other, but if anyone were going to do the touching, he would initiate. Not Preston.
Preston raised one brow. “You must have known there was a chance you’d be placed with another man.”
“I did, and that changes nothing. We have a woman.”
“Oh, you must be fucking kidding.”
They both jerked, then looked at Carlene. Her lip was curled. Lance wasn’t good at reading people, but he was pretty sure the look on her face was one of disgust.
“You have a woman? I really hope you don’t mean me.”
Lance frowned. “You are our woman.”
“I’m not your fuck toy, or some baton you’re going to pass back and forth.” She jerked her wrist free of the chain and took a step back, rubbing the marks it had left.
“Carlene.” The Grand Master’s voice was menacing and dark, dripping with warning.
She stopped in her tracks.
“You are incorrect. You are theirs…and they are yours.”
The Grand Master reached out and undid the chain from their wrists. Preston and Lance both stepped away.
“Your relationship is yours. You will choose how to live your lives, but there are rules. No one must know about the trinity and you may never stray outside your marriage.”
The Grand Master focused on Lance. “You have one month. At that time you will return here and be formally bound in the marriage of the Trinity Masters.”
The words echoed in the suddenly hushed space.
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