Pretending things are perfect will only work for so long.
When Daniel?s lover has had enough of watching as Daniel messes around with myriad women, he gives Daniel an ultimatum: Find one for us both to settle down with, or we?re finished.
One glimpse of Daniel DiMarco sets Alaina Miles?s hormones into overdrive, but she cannot act on her feelings. Not only is he ten years younger than her, he?s a notorious womanizer, and he?s a bit of a chauvinist. When the tension between them escalates into one night of passion, Alaina takes it in stride. It?s a dream come true, but it?s only one night.
A leak in her roof forces her to have repairs done to her home. Evan Carrico, Daniel?s best friend and secret lover, is the man for the job. It doesn?t take long for Alaina to realize that her attraction to Evan is much more serious than it should be.
As she falls in love with them and they fall for her, Alaina discovers their secret, but she wants to wait for them to build enough trust in their relationship to tell her themselves. When she stumbles upon them locked in a passionate embrace only hours after a tragic event, will the explosion destroy everything they?ve built?
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5 Cherries from Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews: "Michele Zurlo is wonderfully adept at ?fleshing out? her characters, even her secondary characters, bringing them all and the story to vibrant life. She is remarkably gifted at making it all seem so real, that it is both absorbing and memorable. The erotism throughout is divine. From super hot and frenetic, to loving and deliciously sensual, especially when all three finally let down all their guards and participate fully. This story is so much more than just a quick immersion into the lusty cravings and socially frowned upon excesses of an older woman with her eager young studs. It?s a love story with an edginess to it that combines several hot themes (cougar with younger man, cougar in a Ménage à trois with two younger men, bisexuality) into a plot that?s completely riveting from start to finish. I absolutely loved it! This is the fourth book in highly acclaimed Awakenings series and another superb tale of love, lust and life that make her novels, such a delightful fascination to read."
Monica at HEA Reviews: "Time to Pretend is a beautiful story that shows everyone that love can be everything imaginable but only if it is strong enough."
Mar at The Reader's Roundtable After Dark: "Time to Pretend?s interesting storyline really grabs the reader from the very beginning. Powerful male/male scenes blend in with just as strong menage scenes. Ms. Zurlo does a great job of creating families who are accepting of their sons? sexual preferences and dealing with modern day issues. In depth characters and a multi-layered plot surprised me! So often erotica plots aren?t very deep or cause the characters to truly grow. Believe me, Time to Pretend, has all of its characters growing while the reader gets dragged in deeper with each page. Time to Pretend by Michele Zurlo is a beautiful love story with scorching sex scenes to keep you on your toes."
Gentle hands trailed along her hips. Heat seared her back as those hands traveled upward and moved her braid out of the way. When a second set of lips seared her neck, she realized Evan was behind her, kissing her neck while Daniel claimed her lips.
With a startled gasp, she jerked away from both of them. Her actions bordered a little on the violent side, but she didn’t care if one or both of them suffered bruised lips.
Anger made her body and her voice shake. She pointed an accusatory finger at both men. “You did this on purpose!”
Daniel held his hands up in a supplicating gesture that managed to also be condescending. “Lainie, there’s no need to get upset.”
“No need? You lied to me!” Her gaze bounced between Daniel and Evan. “You both lied to me. You used me, and you lied to me.”
Evan took one step forward, but he checked himself when she took another step backward. “Alaina, honey, we didn’t use you. We aren’t using you, and we didn’t lie to you, not really.”
“Not any more than you lied to us.” Daniel turned off the sauce boiling on the stove and crossed his arms over his chest. The popping sounds from the boiling concoction slowed and stopped.
Alaina’s sharp intake of breath should have been warning enough, but Evan shot Daniel a warning look just the same.
Daniel ignored them both. “Lainie, we wanted you to get to know us separately before you had us together.”
Her wildest dreams were coming true, but she was too angry to take solace in that fact. “Did it ever occur to you to let me in on your little plan beforehand, Daniel? You go on and on about hating women who play head games, yet this is exactly the kind of thing you bitch about.”
He took a step toward her, but she backed around the island counter. He stopped, letting her have something between them. “This is different, Lainie. We’re both in love with you. We both want a relationship with you, and I think you want a relationship with both of us, too. Why don’t you just calm down now?”
The world exploded in red as Alaina’s fists came down on the counter. She wasn’t the kind of person who yelled, but she definitely had the lung capacity when she needed the volume. “Calm down? Damn it, Daniel! You both used me for a one-night stand, and then you both came back for another night. I’ve been out of my mind, confused by the fact I was falling for both of you and afraid of hurting either of you and afraid of damaging your friendship, and you expect me to calm down when I find out you planned this all along? I’m a woman, not a blow-up doll!”
Daniel’s face had taken on that ruddy undertone it got whenever he lost his temper with her. Curiously, Evan seemed completely unaffected by their angry outbursts.
Planting his hands firmly on the counter opposite Alaina, Daniel leaned closer. “So we went about this the wrong way. It’s not like we’ve ever done something like this before. Cut us some slack.” He glanced at Evan before focusing his gaze back on Alaina. “Or at least cut me some slack. You don’t seem pissed at Evan.”
She growled, a snarling sound she’d never made. “He didn’t even know me when you invited him into my bed. At least he fell for me honestly. He treated me with dignity and respect. I’m sure this wasn’t his idea.”
Evan’s shadow fell between them, diverting the flow of anger that seemed to amplify between Alaina and Daniel. Needing to know his place in all of this, she lifted her face to meet his gaze.
“It wasn’t my idea, Alaina, but I wasn’t against it. After I met you, I was all in. I’ve never shared a woman with anyone, not even Danny, yet the idea of the three of us together just seems so right.” His blue eyes searched hers for something. “I know you’re angry. You have every right to be. Maybe we went about this the wrong way. We’re sorry we hurt you. But we’d like to ask you to put that aside for now and seriously consider having the both of us in your life.”
“You made me feel like a slut.” Hurt suffused her quiet words. Alaina no longer had enough anger to power her lungs.
Daniel’s aggressive stance relaxed. “Don’t say that, Lainie. It’s not your fault. We’re just irresistible.”
Alaina sighed at Danny’s attempted levity. Her gaze fixed on her hands still curled into fists on the countertop. “I’ve never had casual sex, not once in my entire life before I met you.”
Evan rested his hand over her fist. She didn’t unfurl it, and he didn’t force the issue. “What you have with us isn’t casual.”
Just like that, a switch was thrown in her head. She understood what they had done and what they were offering. This was her dream. This was what she wanted. It didn’t seem quite real, not yet.
“Touch Daniel, sweetheart. I want to watch you suck him while I fuck you from behind.” He caressed up and down her spine with his fingertips, sending waves of electricity straight to her nipples. “Are you okay with that?”
She leaned back so that his arms cradled her, and he planted a string of kisses on her neck. “Anything, Evan.”
He rested his cheek on the top of her head. “You can ask for things, too, Alaina.”
She laughed lightly. Daniel closed his hand around his erection and pumped it slowly. Her breath caught. “For now, just being with both of you is what I want.”
Daniel’s hand froze. He impaled her with a hard stare. “For now?”
She crawled across the narrow expanse of bed separating them. Using one fingernail, she grazed a path along his inner thigh. “For now, Danny. Later, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of requests. You know how demanding I am.” Steel was softer than her tone. She didn’t like the fact they weren’t telling her they were both bisexual and in love with each other. Not wanting to ruin the mood, she favored him with a soft smile to make up for it. “For now, I’m content with letting you call the shots.”
Before he could say anything, she bent down and licked the pearly drop of pre-cum beaded on the head of his cock. He sucked air and rested his hand on the back of her head. Giving head to Danny was something she enjoyed, and she wanted to prolong the experience.
She licked the length of him. She held him with one hand while the other caressed his sac. His hips rose from the bed, thrusting into the air, and his hand tightened in her hair. She loved him with her mouth, letting her lips wander where they pleased. She flicked her tongue over the sensitive skin of his balls before sucking one into her mouth. This wasn’t something she had ever done before, but she figured Daniel would like it.
She was right.
“Fuck, Lainie. If you keep that up, I’m going to come in your hair instead of your mouth.”
Behind her, Evan trailed kisses over her back. He was such a gentle, compassionate lover. She wondered if Daniel topped Evan or if it was the other way around. There was no telling with these two. In a lot of ways, Daniel seemed to be in charge, yet Evan had no problem calling the shots, either.
Evan’s strong hands moved her hips and legs, positioning her to receive him. She cooperated, and when she heard the foil package rip open, she finally took Daniel into her mouth. She sucked hard, pulling him in as far as she could and wrapping her hand around the base.
Her hips lifted. Evan’s fingers probed her slick opening, positioning his head at her entrance. She moaned in anticipation, and Daniel’s grip pulsed in her hair, loosening and tightening in time to the rhythm she set.
One powerful thrust, and Evan filled her. Alaina made soft sounds of pleasure and need in the back of her throat, urging him to move. Finally, he pulled out almost completely and stayed there, teasing her with the promise of more.
She glanced up at Daniel to find his gaze locked behind her, and she knew Evan was taunting Daniel as much as he was teasing her. Daniel’s body writhed under her onslaught, and the expression on his face pleaded with Evan on her behalf.
Then Evan moved. He pumped into her, matching the rhythm she used with Daniel. Tight coils of pleasure swept her away, and Alaina forgot all about the silent communications between her lovers. When Evan slowed down, she sucked Danny slower. When he increased his pace, she matched his actions.
Noises, cries of pleasure and impending climax, came from all around Alaina. The noises Evan wrung from her were absorbed by Daniel’s rock-hard cock. In a torrent of heat, she came. Cream rushed down her thighs, her vagina milked Evan’s cock, and still he didn’t stop.
Daniel came next. Hot semen shot to the back of her throat. She swallowed it and licked him dry. He groaned beneath her.
Lifting her head, she glanced up at Daniel once more. She watched him watching Evan thrust into her body, prolonging the spirals of pleasure pulsing throughout her core. Her arms were too weak to hold her up. They trembled, a prelude to dropping her.
Evan hooked one arm under her torso and lifted her so that her back rested against his chest. He kneaded her breast, tweaking the nipple with soft pulls. Her head flopped back against his shoulder as he repositioned her legs on either side of his so that she essentially sat on his lap.
The gentle urging of Evan’s thumb on her chin had her turning her face toward him and opening for his kiss. He ravaged her, worshipping and claiming her at the same time. His hand trailed heat down her front and parted the lips of her pussy.
He tickled her lightly, teasing circles around her clit until she couldn’t hold in her moans anymore. Only then did he release her from the endless kiss and press the pad of his fingers against her swollen nub.
“Oh, Evan, yes. Don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Beneath her, his hips pumped, and she matched his rhythm. His stiff cock jabbed a shallow thrust into her sweet spot as his fingers created a friction designed to leave her boneless.
Alaina opened her eyes to watch Daniel watching them. Desire blazed, and it seemed to hold equal parts for Alaina and for Evan. Having Daniel watch heightened the experience. She wanted to climax for herself. She wanted to please Evan, and she wanted to put on an unforgettable show for Danny.