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Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 24) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 17:01:23

Nathaniel hugged Micah, and said something so quietly that like with Nicky I could only see his lips moving, but heard nothing. Micah nodded, then motioned me over. I went to them, taking his hand. We put our heads together and Micah said, "Nathaniel wants permission to be with Dev as friends with benefits."

"I thought the two of them had been talking about that, but I thought you were against it," I said.

"Was I jealous at first, yes, but I can't, or don't want to do certain things with Nathaniel. I've learned that I don't know how I feel about some things until we try, but I promise not to be mad at Dev for the one night even if I can't deal with more."

Nathaniel looked at me. "Are you okay with it?"

"I think so, I mean I'm already able to have sex with both of you, and I know how much you miss certain guy-on-guy sex from being in the bedroom with you and Asher, so if Micah is okay with it, then I don't see a problem. Should we ask Jean-Claude?"

"None of us are sleeping with him but you," Micah said, "and you already have his okay for sex with Dev."

"Dev may be negotiating with Jean-Claude for something," I said.

Micah sighed. "We're going to have to ask, then."

"Another spontaneous romantic moment spoiled by poly negotiations," I said.

"Better than not talking about it and having it all blow up in our faces," Micah said.

Nathaniel nodded. We asked Jean-Claude and Dev to join us by the fireplace, and we asked. Yeah, at first it's totally awkward to ask such blunt questions, but it's pretty much the only way to run a poly group, especially one with so many moving parts. Asher had just demonstrated what happens when you don't talk to the people in your lives, so fuck that, let's talk. So we did.

We ended with Jean-Claude turning to Dev and giving a gentle but thorough kiss. He turned to Asher and said, "A male lover who does not wish bondage, but is in my bed in every other way, is a precious gift to me. One I would not throw so lightly away."

"As I have done, you mean?"

"I do not understand your infatuation with Kane, but love is like that, is it not?"

"The five of you have consulted each other, but Richard and I are left out of the requests and permissions."

"Don't drag me into this, Asher," Richard said from where he'd sat back down on the couch.

"But do we not have rights, as well?"

"I wouldn't start complaining that you haven't been consulted about changes in your BDSM and poly, after the lack of communication you've given all of us," he said.

"I will endeavor to do better in the future."

"Well, it's hard to do worse," I said.

"You will take Dev in to punish me?"

"Oh, for the love of God, Asher," Micah said, "not everything is about you. Jean-Claude and Nathaniel miss having a male lover who does the whole ball of wax, and is separate from their BDSM relationships, and thanks to you Dev is looking for new relationships. Dev and Nathaniel will be friends with benefits. Jean-Claude and Dev will be lovers and he'll become a regular blood donor. Everyone gets something they're missing."

"And you, Richard, are you so logical about Dev being added?"

"Fine. I'm about as far into being what Jean-Claude needs as I'm comfortable with, which isn't close to enough. If Dev can meet those needs that I won't, great, as long as I'm not expected to share the bed, or Jean-Claude and Anita, with Dev as a group thing. You, Jean-Claude, and Anita is about as much guy-guy as I want to deal with. Nathaniel and I are nothing to each other except that we share you, Anita, and Jean-Claude sometimes, so what he does is really no business of mine. I see everyone about once a month, maybe twice, and that's it, so it really is up to them as long as our relationships remain as they are."

"So logical. I am afraid my heart is not so easily reasoned with."

"Why does it bother you that we are picking up what you discarded?" Nathaniel asked.

"Dev means nothing to me."

"Thanks, Asher, thanks for that," Dev said.

"I know how to make you happier," Nathaniel said.

Dev looked sad, but said, "How?"

Dev looked puzzled, but I saw him set his body as if he were about to lift something, or do something physically. Nathaniel threw his arms around the taller man's shoulders and jumped up, wrapping his legs around Dev's waist, and kissed him. Dev seemed startled, but then relaxed into it, his hand coming up to cup the back of Nathaniel's head, and then playing his hand along the braid of hair, the other arm around his waist helping hold him in place, though I was pretty sure Nathaniel didn't need the help.

I watched them kiss long and deep, more and more body English in it, and my body clenched so tight that I had to catch myself against the fireplace. Everyone had their kinks and I loved watching my male lovers together; I just did.

"I wish I found that as exciting as you do," Micah said, hugging me.

Nathaniel broke from the kiss to say, "Me, three."

"I don't," Dev said, "because then Nathaniel wouldn't need me."

"Micah's too well endowed for giving anal, so you'd still have your uses," Nathaniel said, smiling inches from Dev's face.

Dev looked like something hurt, but I don't think it hurt. I think he'd just had a reaction similar to the one that had made me grab the fireplace. "Do you just like receiving?"

"I like giving, too."

"Hard limit either way with me," Micah said, "sorry."

"Me, too," I said, and hugged him.

The two vampires and Richard stayed very quiet. Once upon a time I'd have asked why, but I'd learned that while ignorance may not be bliss, sometimes you really don't need to know.

Dev helped Nathaniel stand again, and Nathaniel gave me that smile, the one that let me know that whatever he was about to say was going to either be wonderful, or make me cringe that he'd said it in front of this many other people.

t you enjoy watching me have sex with other people."

"I like watching my lovers with other lovers, as long as I get to do more than watch eventually."

"Oh, why didn't you say so?" Dev said, and he held out his hand to me, smiling.

Micah kissed me on the cheek. "Go on."

I went to the other men and let Dev and Nathaniel draw me in between them. Nathaniel picked me up around the waist and lifted me so I could kiss Dev, while he nuzzled his face across my breasts, still covered by all my clothes, but it was still almost too much for this much crowd.

"Is there a way for a straight guy to get in here somewhere?" Sin asked.

"If we had another girl or two, we'd have a hell of a daisy chain going," Dev said.

There was movement among the guards. I turned, still held between Dev and Nathaniel, to find three of the Harlequin guards dropping to one knee near us. Echo bowed her short black hair, Fortune with her short blue curls beside her. They didn't surprise me, because they'd shown up to the tiger get-together as lovers earlier, but Magda the werelion took a knee, too. That, I hadn't seen coming.

Echo spoke, "If it meets with your approval, mistress, we would gladly try to help fill out your chain of daisies." She raised her face so I got the full force of those deep blue eyes framed by all that pale skin and black hair. Her face was a delicate oval, and she wasn't much bigger than me, but something about her coloring evoked Jean-Claude; it was probably just the hair-eyes-skin combo, but still . . . it wasn't a bad thing.

"I don't know what to say, I mean, gentlemen?"

"None of us are going to say anything until you do," Micah said. The other men nodded.

I sighed. I was the girl and the one most likely to not want more women. I had Nathaniel and Dev put me down, so I was at least standing on something solid.

Domino stepped forward and said, "Sorry, but do you need to talk to Jade about adding more women?"

"I told her weeks ago that I was looking for women who liked both men and women, that it didn't work for me to be with someone who dislikes men." I had; I just hadn't expected to have so many potential choices this soon.

Fortune looked up at me with a smile almost visible on her broad mouth. Her blue-on-blue eyes were shining as if she knew a joke that I didn't. Echo watched me out of those dark blue eyes. I looked at Magda with her thick blond hair cut just above her shoulders. She so needed a new hairdresser, but if we took her into our bed then Jean-Claude would help her, like he'd helped me. She stared up at me with those gray-blue eyes. They were almost completely gray against the unrelieved black of the guard's typical clothes.