TWO SIRS, WITH LOVE
McQueen Was My Valley 4
Copyright © 2013
Bird in Hand, Utah
“I heard that she runs around in a strapless bustier with four-inch heels,” said Brooke McQueen. Ian Lawson knew her as the wildest McQueen sister.
“Yes,” agreed Cass Cameron, a six-foot-tall gal who was the director of the front office at the Triple Play Lodge. She leaned confidentially over the coffee table and looked from side to side. “And that she was the meanest most sadistic flogger the place had ever seen.”
“Oh, come now,” said Sasha McQueen. As a medical doctor, Ian knew she was the most logical of the sisters. “This is all hearsay. Just because poor Felicity runs away to Stockholm and doesn’t talk to us for a few years, we can imagine all sorts of wild things. Let’s give her a chance, shall we?”
“Actually,” said Xandra McQueen, apparently a former “wild child” herself, “I did hear this from Dad in one of his lucid moments a couple of years ago. It’s a definite fact that she worked at a bondage club in Stockholm called The Fat Shaft.”
“I don’t know,” Xandra said skeptically. Although not the oldest, she had evidently lucked into inheriting the lodge directly from their father, who was back home in Charleston in the last stages of dementia. “One of the few times Felicity e-mailed me, she sent me a photo of herself. True, she was wearing a sweater, but I swear you could see the outline of a nipple ring.”
The other women gasped, but Ian’s prick elongated as he thought of nipple rings on women.
Ian was crowded on the couches in the corner with the four beautiful women. It wasn’t such a bad position to be in. The three sisters—although all spoken for—were stunning, and Cass was a hottie in an Amazonian way. Ian spent his days in the accounting office of his corporate headquarters in Washington, DC. There were a couple of battleaxes in the office, and the rest of the accountants were all men. He didn’t get out much into elegant society such as this, and it was a stimulating pleasure merely to be around several women, much less hotties. This vacation was shaping up to be the best thing he’d done in years.
“Are you sure it was a nipple ring?” Ian asked. He wasn’t accustomed to drinking this much alcohol, either, but it was a rehearsal dinner for Sasha’s wedding to Ian’s buddy Rowan, and pretty much everyone was cutting loose. “I mean, it could have been a…” Now he felt idiotic, but he knew his attractive British accent would make up for his stumble. Women loved British accents.
Brooke punched him lightly in the upper arm. “Oh, come on! You know you love it, Ian. You know you’re just dying to meet this wild party girl who knows how to give a good flogging. I’ll bet there’s an unrestrained savage lurking beneath your sweater vest.”
While all the women laughed, Ian wanted to protest. Just because he was a chartered accountant didn’t mean he wore a sweater vest. The three sisters had hooked up with operatives, men who worked for private military contractors such as Ian and Rowan’s company, Hawkeye Corp. These commandos worked in the field doing daring things like dismantling bombs, taking down terrorists, and parachuting out of planes. Still, Ian knew there wasn’t the slightest comparison between what Rowan did, for example, and what he did. They had only become friends because once Rowan had come to the accounting office to complain about a paycheck error. They had discovered that, besides both being from the British Isles—Rowan hailed from County Kerry in Ireland—they were fans of Heroes of Order & Chaos. At first they had played the game on their phones. It was exciting knowing he was up against someone who was currently sitting surveillance on a terrorist’s house in Palm Beach. But since they had found out they lived close to each other, Ian had started visiting Rowan’s DC loft to manipulate their immortal warriors on a bigger screen. Rowan lived in a vast man cave full of exercise equipment. He was so manly he didn’t have a gun safe—he had a gun room protected by Pentagon levels of security.
Rowan’s cave resembled Tony Stark’s invention lab, with its massive ammo reloading table, state of the art work-out equipment, and kitchen like a mad scientist’s workshop. Ian was allowed to see the macho, ripped, courageous side of working for Hawkeye Corp. Ian was bonded to work on top secret projects and had signed a nondisclosure agreement, of course, and was allowed into Rowan’s world of electronic divining rods, facial recognition software, and high-value targets. Ian had graduated with honors from Oxford sixteen years ago and had chosen to work for Hawkeye because he thought it would be dashing. But until meeting Rowan O’Shea, it hadn’t been. He worked in a windowless office and his coworkers gossiped about which operative was in Cuba, Panama, or Iraq. But rarely did they see the operatives unless they came in to complain about their paychecks.
Now Rowan had invited Ian to his wedding in southeast Utah, and Ian was saying asinine things about nipple rings in front of a crowd of hot women. He sat up erect and straightened his tie impudently. “There’s another side to me, yes,” he admitted slyly. “I’ve been Rowan’s wingman on more than one occasion. A festive partier lurks beneath this square exterior.”
This sent the women into a whirlwind of laughter. If Ian couldn’t be an operative, this was the next best thing. Being the best friend of a decorated mercenary meant he could move in colorful, glamorous circles such as this. The rehearsal dinner was being held in Brooke’s “cabin,” Two in the Bush, but it was more like an impressive chalet with its two-story-tall windows, enormous river rock fireplace, and exposed beam ceilings hung with antler chandeliers, just like in the Triple Play’s lobby. This style was known as “Mountain Craftsmen,” so Ian had heard, and he greatly admired it.
“Well, you’re single, aren’t you, Ian?” Sasha asked.
“I am,” Ian admitted, unsure if this was good or bad.
“Then maybe you could squire our, ah, our unusual sister around for the next few days.”
It wasn’t just Ian’s heart that swelled at this proposal. He was glad his double-breasted suit jacket was buttoned. He knew he had a rather large cock, but he didn’t think even these racy ladies would want to look at his erection. “Of course, I’d be honored—”
“I’m single, too,” groused Cass Cameron, crossing her long gams and flipping her hair in disgust.
Ian knew the proper thing to do. He wasn’t that inexperienced with the ladies. “I can squire you both, but you know your way around the lodge better than she will.”
“And you’re my maid of honor,” whined Sasha, putting a hand on Cass’s arm. “You have more important duties than amusing Rowan’s best friend.”
Cass looked down her nose at Sasha’s hand. “I do?”
As everyone laughed, Ian stood and took Cass’s highball glass. “I’ll get you another.”
The knot of macho commandos was conglomerated near the bar, so after Ian got the Long Island Iced Tea from the bartender, he insinuated himself into the group. Besides the manly operatives, there were at least two game wardens who worked for the state. One of them, a Perry Donovan, was Rowan’s best man, and Ian was vaguely jealous of him. He wondered why he wasn’t best man, when Rowan had gone to the trouble to invite him to Utah for his wedding. Further, there was an odd intimacy between Rowan and Perry. They had held the bachelor party last night at a shit-kicking bar in the nearest town, Bird in Hand. Rowan and Perry were falling all over each other, wankered like everyone else in the bar. But the way they looked at each other seemed to go…beyond wankered. Ian knew that many operatives had poofter leanings. They spent a great deal of time in the bush with nothing better to do, apparently, than to try their hand at uphill gardening. But why would Rowan be marrying the elegant, graceful Dr. Sasha McQueen if he was going to be giving a hummer to another fellow?
Ian had been irritated at his own jealousy. He knew that he worshiped Rowan O’Shea, and at times had even wondered if his feelings went beyond a man crush. Did Ian harbor homoerotic feelings? Thinking about it wasn’t entirely appalling, not when it involved the studly Rowan. He found himself now shooting Perry Donovan narrow-eyed, suspicious glances. Perry couldn’t be a day over thirty. He was much too young for Rowan. Yet there Rowan was, slapping Perry on his manly shoulder, literally hanging onto his every word.
Rowan was telling a story. “Perry finally got him in a headlock—”
“And his hand reached up, trying to nail Perry in the eyes,” Doug added. Doug Ostrovsky was some kind of goofy, distant stepbrother to the McQueen girls. He seemed to run the cattle ranch that was connected to the lodge and called everyone “buckaroo.”
“—trying to get Perry’s eyes,” Rowan agreed, “so Perry bites his hand!”
The men laughed until tears made their eyes shine. Ian wondered why Perry the Great didn’t just take his gun out to subdue the suspect. He was a game warden for the state. “Why didn’t he just handcuff the guy?”
“Handcuff who?” Rowan gasped for air, he was so full of mirth. “Handcuff a kangaroo?”
Now everyone seemed to be laughing at Ian’s expense, because he hadn’t known that Perry had been fighting with a kangaroo in the story. He sipped at Cass’s drink. It would make him look even feebler to now ask what a kangaroo was doing in the Utah high desert, so Ian was relieved when the McQueen family lawyer, a Sol Greenspan, stuck his head into the group.
Sol slashed the air with his hand. “All right, you bon vivants. I’m heading back to the lodge. Got a phone call from Miss Felicity McQueen that she arrived, so I’ll bring her back here. Get all your dirty jokes out of your system before she arrives.”
“Hey,” protested Adrian Kinsey, another commando, as his friends elbowed him knowingly, “I’m only repeating what my wife told me. This Miss Felicity has apparently gone over the edge.”
Doug goofed, “Or should we say Mistress Felicity?”
Sol jabbed a forefinger in Doug’s face. “Never you mind that, Emo McGee. She’s a McQueen sister, so she’s a valued client of mine. I want to make her feel welcome. You’re all married to McQueens, you should know how they are.” He stood tall and tried to look down his nose at the black ops men and rangers. “The sisters are just like their lawyer. Only the very best with just the right amount of dirty.”
Sol must have expected the hailstorm of protests and epithets that were showered on him now as he made his getaway. Ian had the feeling Sol was smiling as he exited the house, and the men yelled after him.
“Do you need a spanking, Sol?”
“Have you been a bad boy?”
“Do you need a gal with big boobs to punish you, Sol?”
Still laughing, Rowan drifted away from the group and told Ian pleasantly, “I should talk. I get a kick out of BDSM now and then. We’ve been known to get into a little light flogging or fire play.”
Fire play? Ian had no idea what that might entail but didn’t want to show his ignorance. He looked out the enormous plate glass window at the snowy panorama beyond. Utah was really quite gorgeous, with its sandstone spires, cathedrals, and pinnacles that resembled frosting-topped cupcakes now in January. The desert was far from boring, but Ian was distraught Rowan was moving there, away from DC. “Oh, yeah? You, Sasha, and…”
He had hoped Rowan would fill in the blank, but Rowan only said, “Oh, yes. Nathan too. He and Xandra have quite the handcuff collection.”
“I imagine these game wardens have the top of the line handcuffs.”
Rowan didn’t pick up the bait. “We shouldn’t tease the women’s sister. Who knows what she’ll be like? Since she’s their sister, I’m sure she’s perfectly gracious and beautiful.”
“Yes,” agreed Ian, honestly. “We’re just being insensitive cads, typical men, making schoolboy jokes because she worked in a bondage den.”
Rowan’s eyes twinkled. “Yes. But you have to admit, it is fun thinking of her all done up in a patent leather bustier, whipping some lardass who demands to be punished for stealing candy.”
Ian couldn’t help smile, too. “I’ve been asked to squire her around the next few days.”
Rowan instantly sobered up. “What? Who asked you to do that?”
Ian frowned. Why should it be so impossible to believe that he could squire around a bondage dominatrix? Just because he was an accountant did it mean he had never dated a woman who was slightly racy, a little bit edgy? On the strength of his British accent alone he had lured in many naughty gals who had expanded his horizons. He had been told he was good-looking—handsome, even. He had just studied business because it was reliable and he needed to send money home to his mother. He could not have afforded to dash about on some dodgy shenanigans like Rowan and his ilk. “Your wife.”
“Sasha? Oh, I’m sure it’s all right, Ian. I’m sure Felicity won’t chain you up and perform a forced orgasm on you.”
Forced orgasm? Rowan’s coming up with all sorts of things I’ve never heard of. “Right. Just because she used to be a Dominatrix for a living doesn’t mean it’s her lifestyle. She owned the club, after all. People who get paid to do that aren’t all in the lifestyle. The girls were saying that Felicity only left their home in Charleston for Stockholm after her husband died. Maybe his death affected her. We shouldn’t pick on her.”
“Yes. She went to Europe, sort of lost it, I believe. Was overwhelmed by grief. Couldn’t handle losing him. I don’t dare imagine that happening to me, losing Sasha, and I can commiserate with Felicity. It shows she’s capable of deep feelings, something I never thought terribly possible until I met Sasha.”
That was as good an opening as Ian could hope to get. “Right. Now about this Perry Donovan bloke.”
“What about him?”
Ian had no choice but to barge ahead. He could only hope Rowan would get so drunk he wouldn’t recall this conversation tomorrow. “I know that you’ve been known to…to dabble in some nancy activities now and then. When you’re out in the field, of course.”
Rowan had a warning, cautious tone. “Yes…”
“I was just wondering if you were…dabbling with Perry, as well.”
There was a brief silence where Ian just wanted to sink down into the bowels of hell. Rowan’s pupils contracted into pinpoints and his brow furrowed. Ian had seen this mask of rage when Rowan had been thinking about some target or other, some kidnaper, rapist, or crazed bomber. Ian had never seen it directed against him, however. A litany of all the creative methods Rowan had of murdering someone started running through Ian’s head.
“Yes,” Rowan at last said, and a huge cloud was lifted from the room. “We dabble, the three of us. It’s quite a…gratifying lifestyle. And you’d be surprised how the local townsfolk at Bird in Hand are accepting of it. We’re all three very committed to each other, but of course we can’t legally marry Perry.”
A thousand questions assaulted Ian’s brain. Why didn’t he choose to dabble with me? What’s wrong with me? I work out. I lift weights. Ian liked to see himself as a Superman sort of bloke. Mild-mannered by day, eighth wonder of the modern world by night. At least, he wanted to be. Instead, Ian just smiled tolerantly. “He seems like a nice fellow,” he said lamely.
“He’s amazing,” said Rowan, dreamy-eyed. “I love him just as much as Sasha, only in a slightly different way. You’ll come to see that in the next few days.”
Since Ian couldn’t imagine the situation becoming any more uncomfortable, he excused himself to deliver Cass’s drink and went to the bathroom.
Squiring Felicity around might be the closest Ian would ever get to intimacy with Rowan. They might, in some remote alternate universe, shag two sisters. That would make him feel closer to Rowan. Why had he never realized the extent of his man crush on Rowan before? He could have made some vague pass, all those times they had sat around his cave drinking whiskey, playing chess, Manhunt, or practicing “throwing some sticks” at paper targets with their compound bows.
As Ian washed his hands, he realized he was just being absurd. He merely admired Rowan greatly and was upset that he was losing his best friend in DC. Sure, Ian had his nerdy World of Warcraft friends, and the friends he met at the gym for handball, but being with Rowan gave him the sense that life was worth living. He could live vicariously through Rowan’s adventures. When Rowan told him a story about nabbing a suicide bomber, Ian felt almost as though he’d lived the adventure himself. Without Rowan his life would consist of one balance sheet after another. The high point of his year would be April 15. He’d get an adrenaline rush from extending a tax deadline.
So Ian emerged from the loo feeling as though he owed Rowan an apology. He shouldn’t have tried to delve into Rowan’s personal life like that. It was none of his bloody business. His problem was that for years he had longed to bust out and get wild like the operatives constantly did. It was an everyday thing for them to race through an outdoor farmer’s market knocking over banana stands, vaulting over pyramids of watermelons, dodging the ninja stars the targets threw at them. He had chosen to work at Hawkeye Corp. out of all the Fortune 500 companies that had made him offers after university. He imagined that, although the paperwork would be the same dull chore at Hawkeye, at least he’d work against a backdrop of spying and surveillance. Part of that had come true in the past sixteen years. As CFO, he oversaw the accountants who purchased the operatives all of their spy gear. And his company letterhead had a bull’s-eye logo on it. That was about the extent of the excitement.
But by the time he returned to Adrian’s palatial living room, the mood of the entire party had changed.
The lawyer had returned with Felicity McQueen. She stood tall in the center of a crowd. It was like in those movies where everything else melted away from the center of attention in a psychedelic haze. Felicity would have been taller than most women, but she added inches by sweeping her carrot-red hair into an updo. She wore a simple seafoam green cardigan like something from the prim 50s, but oh how she filled out that cardigan. Her pillowy breasts rose buoyantly from a bra that was an engineering miracle. The U-neck of the sweater didn’t expose much flesh, but in silhouette it clung to her hourglass figure like moss.
Were it not for that va-va-voom figure, Felicity might have looked like the girl next door. She didn’t look a bit jaded or world-weary with her perky features, trim black slacks, carefully applied red lipstick, and furry boots. Although of course, along with every other man in the room, Ian was picturing her wearing a form-fitting cop’s uniform and crotchless pantyhose. He looked for the outline of a nipple ring on the sweater.
“There’s the gal you’re going to squire?” Ian just now noticed Rowan standing next to him, gaping like an ape with his hands dangling at his sides. “You’ll be the envy of every man in McQueen Valley.”
Maybe he would finally get a bit of an adventure after all.
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