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About the author:
Sofia Clarke is a writing duo dedicated to delivering steamy romance.
All of their stories are safe, fun, dramatic, and always end with a happily-ever-after or happy-for-now guaranteed!
What inspired you to write your book?
This book was inspired by a dream one of us had (no joke), as well as our love for menage and reverse harem!
Here is a short sample from the book:
I glanced at my phone as I stepped out of work. It was only a few minutes to midnight on a cold winter's night, and as I looked out over the frostbitten city, I wished it was spring already. Winter was almost over, but it was holding on with a vengeance. The sky was partially overcast, and the moon and stars were hidden in patches but not completely shrouded out. And just ahead of me was my least favorite alley. It was narrow, damp, and dark and always gave me the creeps. I never liked this time of night.
I worked at a hospital in a moderately rough neighborhood where the city's upper and lower classes met in a strange tangle of crime and frantic police work. I was bundled up tightly, watching fog roll off my breath. A loose scrap of paper tumbled down the street as wind blew. Everything was quiet. I rubbed my hands together, wishing I would have remembered to bring gloves. I'd forgotten them after being called into work early that morning to help during a crisis. Since I didn't own a car, I'd literally run from my apartment to the hospital where I'd seen one of my coworkers being dismissed due to an injury. She'd slipped on a wet floor and had fractured her elbow during a patient emergency.
Now I was regretting my lack of preparation. I supposed this was life—more specifically, the life of a nurse what with its unexpected call-ins, hectic bursts of activity, and long hours. The pay was good and the hours weren't terrible considering I worked four days on and then had nice three day weekends. Plus, the reward of helping people left me with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. But these benefits didn't stop me from feeling like I was rushing through things, or rather, using my hectic schedule to ignore things that had been building in me. Something was lacking. In these lonely times walking home, I would have liked to have had company.
The dreamy part of me was able to picture what kind of company this would be. I saw a handsome and muscular man. He would speak to me like a gentleman, whispering sweet words of affection while looking into my eyes with love. I'd never had a man treat me this way, and the good girl in me would have been happy with it.
The good girl.
That was one part of me. There was another, one that I would call the bad girl that had another idea—to be treated this way by more than one man at the same time. Due to my upbringing, I was convinced that wanting more than one guy at the same time was wrong. But was it wrong?
I was distracted from dwelling on this question when a cat scurried out of the alley. It looked at me with glowing green eyes, some 30 yards away, and I sensed fear. It sped off abruptly, which prompted me to examine the way ahead and try and see what presence might be lurking in the alley's shadows. I felt a wave of uncertainty wash over me. I stopped moving and wavered. Something didn't feel right. Was it Todd? We'd broken up four months ago, and he'd harassed me with text messages and calls for weeks afterward and had even shown up at my work asking for me—which was ridiculous because he'd been the one who'd left for someone else, not me. Eventually, he'd stopped cold, and I'd been glad. He'd been abusive during our relationship and had hit me several times. Even so, we'd dated for two years before finally breaking up.
'You're scaring yourself. He's not here,' I insisted, and I forced myself to press on, fighting the impulse to remain planted.
I wished suddenly now more than ever that I had a man to walk me home, to protect me and make me feel safe—or three of them. I wished I could have them, but yet I scoffed at the idea. It was absurd. Why was I always going back to this silly fantasy? Where had I even gotten it? I knew I would be better off not thinking about such things. Living a normal life made much more sense because, after all, I was from a normal family. My parents weren't especially religious, but we went to church every now and again and were fairly traditional. My dad and mom had been married 30 years, had gotten college degrees, bought a modest house. They'd made ends meet by running a small family business and had raised two kids—my younger brother, Daniel and me. They'd lived the life that everyone said you should.
The good girl in me wished that I could have that life too. Find a nice guy, settle down, and have kids. I'd thought about this stuff for a long time, but after my awful breakup with Todd, I'd gotten too scared to try anything, regardless of whether it was with one guy or more. Ever since love had failed me, I'd been in limbo. Todd had stolen my faith—I think because most of all he'd seemed like Mr. Perfect at the beginning and had made all the right promises and I'd truly believed that he was my one and only. Except he'd started beating me and forced me to hide the bruises and had brought me down with his words more times than I could count. Then to cap it all off, he'd cheated on me with his ex, and had left me for her.
He'd come crashing into my life and then vanished, leaving me feeling uncertain and unsafe. I was stubborn and refused to be broken, which was why I still walked home from work. I was a big girl and could take care of myself. And I told myself that the way home wasn't that bad, and in all fairness, it wasn't. I worked only a couple of minutes from my apartment complex, and the strange upside to these walks was the reminder they gave me. Life was much bigger than my problems. As a nurse, I'd seen some gnarly stuff. Being outside at night in the middle of the city gave me a larger perspective, and strangely, helped clear my head.
After my shift, I definitely needed to do so. I'd had a patient pass away a few hours ago. Her name had been Evangeline Williams, and she'd been the reason, besides my coworker's injury, for my emergency call-in. Evangeline had fought for hours before finally passing. I hadn't been in the room when it had happened, but she'd been waited on by a host of loving friends and family.
The doctor had delivered the news, and her husband had demanded to see her. I'd been standing several feet away watching as frantic tears had streamed down his face. I'd recognized the love he had for her and had felt emotion swell inside my chest. I'd gotten to know him over the course of her long stay and if there was one thing he believed it was that Evangeline was his angel. Since I'd spent a lot of time with her, I'd come to appreciate his sentiment. She'd been one of the sweetest people I'd ever met. Her fight had been a tough one, but she'd never complained. On the contrary, she'd liked to compliment the staff. She'd often reminded us ladies that we were beautiful and the men that they were handsome. It had become a running joke that if anyone wanted a confidence boost that they should go see Mrs. Williams.
I had liked talking to her not for her compliments but for a different reason. I'd been fascinated by the stories of her life. I'd learned that she'd been married for over 50 years and had spent much of that time traveling the world as a professional photographer. She'd lived with tribes in South America, spent months on end in Borneo documenting the rainforest, hiked the Swiss Alps and taken pictures of small mountain villages. But what had surprised me most, and what had kept me coming back, was not where she'd gone but who she had gone with. In every one of her stories, she'd mentioned not only herself and her husband but another man, one she'd called our darling. I'd hoped that she would tell me more about their intriguing arrangement due to my own interest in having more than one man, then one day, after I'd gotten to know her well enough, I'd asked her about him. She'd smiled. "His name was Charles. He died five years ago. He was our spark from the beginning." Her eyes had drifted up to the ceiling, looking distant. "50 years. Hard to believe…how fast time passes." She'd looked at me again. "It isn't as odd as people make it seem, you know—three people being together. Love is love."
Her comment had made me wonder about the history of her long years. Surely, she'd met people who hadn't approved of her way of life. I'd asked her about it. "Did people accept it?"
"Some of my family did. Others didn't."
"Do you have any regrets?"
"Not one," she'd assured me, then paused. "The secret to living without regrets is to go for what you truly want."
"I think I'd have a hard time with that."
"Why is that?"
"I've…tried love before."
She'd laughed. "How old are you dear? 20?"
"You're just getting started."
"I've just…had a hard time with love. After my ex and I broke up, I…"
I hadn't been able to finish my sentence because the mere mention of Todd had caused pain to come rushing back. I'd known that if I went down that road, I would have ended up crying. Evangeline had considered me in the way a grandmother would. "You should make friends. Some male friends who want to take care of you." I'd laughed despite myself, and she'd looked at me insistently. "You can find what you want, if you're brave enough to go for it…whatever that is. Do you know what you want?"
"I'm honestly not sure. I feel confused," I'd replied, and I'd absently wondered in the back of my mind how our conversation had moved in this direction.
As for her question, I'd had an idea about what I wanted, but the good girl in me had felt like it was so taboo that I couldn't admit it, despite Evangeline's own revelation. "You know how I found love?" she'd said. "I wished upon a star. I looked up and said, 'God…universe…give me two men who want me and want each other as much as I want them.'"
"Did you really ask that?"
"I sure did."
I'd been on the verge of asking her more about her wish when I'd received a call from my supervisor. I'd told Evangeline goodnight and left, my head turning over with the notion of making a wish. It had seemed like such a silly idea to me, but it had stuck with me throughout my busy shift.
Presently, it was still with me. I knew I needed a wish. Here I was at 24, still single and with almost no friends. Other than my parents, my brother, and my best pal Melon, my adorable puppy, I was alone. I would have been happy with a man to add some zest to my life. Heck, two would have been more than enough. But three? Holy smokes. Could wishes make something as incredible as that come true? The pragmatic side of me said there was no way in hell. The dreamer in me said that I had nothing to lose, and so I looked up.
Broken clouds drifted away from me, revealing a bold, twinkling star that remained despite the city lights. I stopped walking, and glanced at my phone again, checking the time. It had been a long day. Not only had I gone in early, but I'd also had to stay super late. Ironically, it was now only a minute to midnight. I waited, alternating my gaze from the screen to the bright point of blue light so far away. When my phone showed midnight, I put it away and cranked my head up once again to the far-distant point, trying to ignore the fact that this wasn't the most romantic place to make a wish. Feeling foolish, I spoke out loud. "I want love…in whatever way it finds me. That's my wish."
I felt my ears burn with the admission and an embarrassed smile broke across my face. I blew my wish to the star, then I glanced around instinctively, hoping that no one was watching my ritual. My eyes went to the creepy alley again, and I felt a shiver. I hurried forward, hoping to pass it as quickly as possible. I kept myself from looking at its dark opening as it appeared on my right. My apartment complex was only two blocks away. All I had to do was get there. I was just about to make it past the alley when a shadow emerged. My head jerked in its direction, and I felt an instant spike of adrenaline. A figure stepped out from behind an air conditioning unit, looking in my direction. At first, I couldn't quite make out whether it was a man or a woman, then its sheer size gave me the answer. It was definitely a man. Was it Todd?
That terrible question flashed through my mind, and I paused just long enough to feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Then the man rushed toward me. I was frozen in shock as details of him sprung out in the dim light. He wore a black hoodie that was pulled low. His gloves were black, as were his boots, which stabbed into the ground as he hurtled toward me like a wild animal. He closed the distance, and I saw his eyes. They were bright and menacing, but they weren't Todd's. In a way, that was worse. At least with Todd, I knew what to expect.
I let out an involuntary scream and finally ran. I only made it a few feet before he caught up to me and clutched my arm, digging his fingers into it. I wheeled around and smacked him in the face with my purse, and he stumbled back, but he managed to hold on, pressing his fingers into me all the more. Pain lanced through my arm as I tried tearing myself away from him. He grabbed me with his other hand, doubling his grip, and pulled with his entire body. I lost balance and fell toward him. Our bodies collided and in the next moment I was dragged into the alley and slammed bodily against a brick wall.
He brought his face a foot from mine, breathing frantically. "Give me your money!" I let out another scream and flailed, and he planted a gloved hand over my mouth. I tried biting him, but the fabric was too thick. He'd obviously planned ahead. "Give me your money, and no one gets hurt!" he growled. I kicked him and tried creating distance. Anger flashed across his expression, and he wheeled his arm around and punched me hard on the side of the face. With his other hand, he tried yanking my purse away. I clung to it stubbornly and his eyes filled with rage. "Give it to me!"
He lifted his fist to strike me again, and I had the certainty that my life was about to end. In that instant, a miracle occurred. Voices filled the air, and three men appeared. It took them only a split-second to come charging at us. Fear flashed across the face of my attacker, and he let go of me and bolted in the opposite direction. My rescuers hurried after him, disappearing into the shadows.
They passed by me so swiftly that I barely had a chance to see who they were. In my panicked state, I thought that they might be coworkers who had been passing by the alley and had seen us. I waited for them to return, trembling. I hugged myself as their voices echoed down the alley.
Everything went quiet, then a handful of seconds later, they reappeared running toward me, which was when I registered that they weren't coworkers at all. They were, however, the most stunningly handsome men I'd ever seen. Each of them was fit and seemed to be in their late twenties. Their faces were filled with protective instinct.
The one on the left had curly brown hair, olive skin, and blue-gray eyes. He had a prominent and straight nose that complimented his angular face. The one in the middle was tall and broad-shouldered. Even with his clothes on, I could see every muscle in his huge body bulging. His square face, which was filled out with a thick beard, was red. His reddish-brown hair was tousled from running. The one on the right had copper-colored skin, a fine face, and shoulder-length black hair. But it was his dark, almond-shaped eyes, so focused and watchful, that stood out the most.
The three of them surrounded me and the one in the middle spoke urgently. "Are you ok?"
I burst into tears, unable to help myself. Seeing my reaction, he and the others came forward and wrapped their arms around me. I reciprocated and melted into their embrace, not caring that I was hugging complete strangers. Several seconds passed before I was composed enough to let go. "I'm…I'm fine. Thank you," I muttered.
"Do you have a name? Is there someone we can call?" he asked.
My voice was choked and raspy. "Bailey."
"My name's Stephen." He gestured left then right. "This is Riley and Felipe."
Riley put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it with concern. "Just breathe. You're safe now."
Felipe searched me with his dark eyes. "You sure you're going to be alright?"
Stephen's brow furrowed the instant his eyes came to rest on the side of my face where I'd been hit. My guess was that the mark was starting to show. His voice practically trembled with rage. "He hit you."
I touched my face and winced. "Yeah…fuck."
"Do you know him? Have you seen him before?"
Felipe urged us back toward the hospital with a gesture. "Come on. She should get checked out."