Jade Archer 
   ~ A Shot For The Heart ~

Sandpipers' Secrets Extras ~ *Spoilers Ahead* In the process of preparing Sandpipers' Secrets for print release I had to add a chapter to meet word count requirements for a print run. I include it here for all those that bought the original ebook and would like to know what happened after the police arrested Rio and finally left the trio in peace. Please note that this chapter contains explicit adult content. By reading on you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age and are legally allowed to view such material under any laws that may apply to you.

Brody had tried to stay patient and calm. Really he had. It seemed to take years for the police to run through their endless queries and procedures. But finally, they were all gone and peace had been restored in their home. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it was quiet, because Brody felt about as far away from peaceful right now as he could get.

Closer to one in the morning than midnight, Brody was completely drained and exhausted, but he knew there was no way he was going to be able to sleep. Not like this—all tied up in knots and strung out on residual fear. Going over and over what had happened for hours on end with police officers and detectives and goodness only knew who else had left him tight and agitated to the point he couldn’t stay still and honestly didn’t know what to do with himself.

Turning as he reached the couch, Brody continued to pace restlessly around the living room—too wound up to even think about taking a seat.

"Hey." Brody spun on his heels at the sound of Lark’s small, tentative voice behind him. "You all right?"

No!

Running his hand through his hair, Brody desperately tried to keep himself together as he nodded anyway. "Where’s Zak?"

"Downstairs, locking up the restaurant for the night." Brody nodded again—his chaotic thoughts making it hard to concentrate and form a more complicated reply.

He hoped Zak would be back soon. He needed to be able to see his lover. To know he was safe.

"Everyone was fantastic while we were tied up with…well, you know," Lark continued.

Yeah, he did. The cops had asked so many questions, his head was still spinning.

Lark cleared his throat. "Yeah, the gang kept it all going smooth as silk down in the restaurant. We’ll have to think of a special way to thank them all." 

Brody continued to pace. He wasn’t sure how Lark could trust anyone after the last few weeks. First Gus, then Rio—

Brody pushed even the name out of his head. If he started to think about Rio again, he’d start to think about the look he’d seen in the other man’s eyes as he held a gun on Zak and Lark. Then he’d start to remember that all-consuming terror as the gun had moved towards—

"I need to go check on Wolf."

It had taken the little boy forever to fall asleep tonight. Brody needed to make sure his brother was still all right and sleeping soundly. To make sure he hadn’t woken up frightened or…or something.

"Brody, he’s fine. I just checked on him. And so did you five minutes ago. Why don’t you sit down and—"

"I can’t! I just…I keep seeing him here. In our home. With the gun pointed at you and Zak and…and then the cops and—"

"Calm down, Brody. He’s gone. They’re all gone now. We’re fine and everything’s going to be okay."

"But you could have died. And Zak too. And Wolf! What if he’d shot Wolf?"

Lark shivered. "Don’t! Just…just let me make you some warm milk or something. We can snuggle on the couch while we wait for Zak—"

"I don’t want warm milk! I want…" Brody’s voice trailed off as he finally stopped and took the time to really look at Lark.

As he studied Lark’s face, he could see the composure was actually only a thin mask, and all around the edges, big cracks were starting to form. Lark wasn’t anywhere near as okay as he pretended to be. In fact, the thin compression of his bloodless lips, the tight lines around his eyes and the tense way he held himself at the moment suggested he was every bit as upset and traumatised by the day’s events as Brody was—maybe even more so.

Lark had been so calm and collected through the afternoon and into the evening. He hadn’t let anything phase or shake him as he recounted the story over and over again. He’d help comfort Wolf, supported Zak and soothed Brody whenever the presence of the police became too much. But now he didn’t look so good. 

Brody suddenly realised Lark must have been one of those people that held it all together during a crisis, then fell apart afterwards. And he wasn’t helping his lover right now by pacing around all tense and anxious.

"I’m sorry, Lark." Stepping forward, Brody wrapped Lark up in his arms. And Lark immediately hugged him back—fiercely clutching at him and pressing close.

The sound of the front door opening made Lark jump a little in his arms, and Brody finally started to realise just how upset Lark really was.

"It’s me," Zak called out.

"We’re in here," Brody replied, still holding Lark tight.

The sound of keys being tossed into the bowl on the hall table was followed by Zak’s footsteps in the hallway.

"Are you guys okay?" Zak asked as he entered the living room and hurried across the space towards them.

"I don’t think so," Lark confessed against Brody’s chest.

In an instant, Zak was at their side. He wrapped his arms around them both in one go and held them close. "I’m so sorry. I promised I’d keep you all safe. I promised I’d protect you and—"

"It’s not your fault!" Lark’s embrace became almost painfully tight around Brody. "It’s not anyone’s fault but that bastard Rio’s!"

"How could he do something like that?" Brody whispered into the top of Lark’s head where it rested under his cheek. "I just…I don’t understand."

"I don’t think we should try," Zak replied. "Like you said, he’s a fanatic. One that finally went off the deep end. I just…I wish I’d seen it sooner. I wish I’d…done more to protect you all."

Lark’s answer was to pivot in their embrace and wrap his arms around Zak. Brody joined him—clinging to the bigger man, needing to feel the safety he always found in Zak’s arms and to let his lover know without words he still felt it. No way did he blame any of this on Zak. Or Lark. It all rested squarely at Rio’s feet.

"Do you think he’ll get out on bail?" Brody asked. 

"I’m not sure," Zak confessed. "Officer Denkewitz is hopeful they’ll be able to hold him. And Mac said he’d do his best to make sure he stays locked up. At least until the trial. After that…"

"I don’t want to talk about him anymore," Lark said, burrowing further into Zak’s arms.

But Brody couldn’t let it rest. "What about the media? What’s going to happen when they get hold of this? What are we going to do?"

"We’ll deal with that if and when it happens," Zak replied. "Let’s not start getting ahead of ourselves and fussing over problems we haven’t come across yet."

"But—"

"Enough, Brody," Zak said in a gentle reprimand, pulling him in close until he could seal their lips together.

Within seconds the stress, tension and fear of the day turned the kiss into something wilder—cutting off any further questions, fretting or even thought with the wicked play of their tongues.

He heard Lark whimper, then rise up on his toes to join them in a heated three-way kiss that sent shivers of desire racing through Brody’s already over-stimulated body—pushing everything else but the need and longing he’d felt for the two men ever since first setting eyes on them to the back of his mind.

"Bed. Now. Both of you," Zak growled between kisses.

Yes!

Something settled inside Brody at the deep commanding tone of Zak’s voice, even as his lust went into overdrive. Yes, this was exactly what he needed—what they all needed. To lose himself in his lovers and know that they were safe and whole. And his.

* * * *

Lark felt breathless and squeezed tight. Stumbling down the hallway together helped. He wanted—no, needed—to be with Zak and Brody. But in truth, nothing felt quite right at the moment. 

Normally being short didn’t bother him at all. But right now he felt…small. Like everything that had happened and the long afternoon of holding it all together had finally crashed in on him, crushing him down to a fraction of his normal self. He was all off-kilter and…twitchy. Itchy in his own skin.

Finally reaching the bedroom, the door closed and the lock tumbled into place. But Lark still didn’t feel safe. He needed to be connected to his lovers—needed them in and on and surrounding him until the whole world was a distant memory and there was just the three of them, lust and love.

Lark’s only comfort was that both Zak and Brody seemed to be just as frantic and needy right now. They all urgently pulled and tugged on each other while they kissed and caressed and struggled to strip off clothing. Shirts and pants and underwear fell in random, haphazard patterns around the room until they were all completely naked, still licking and kissing and fondling and working hands over each other’s bodies. As if desperate to reassure themselves their lovers were alive and well.

Hands wandered and tweaked and caressed. Lark slid one of his down Zak’s hard, hot belly until he could take Zak’s thick cock in his hand and begin to massage his lover’s shaft. With each stroke he made sure to apply just the right amount of pressure with his thumb to the sensitive spot below the turgid head.

"Oh! Yeah, right… Oh! Right there!"

Zak threw his head back in bliss and Lark groaned right along with him, humping against Zak’s thick thigh to relieve some of the ache in his own leaking cock.

"Oh!" Zak cried again, this time in a higher pitch—apparently already on the very edge of orgasm.

Lark instantly stilled his hand. He didn’t want Zak coming. Not yet. He needed far more—they all did. More than the quick relief of a hand job.

"Want you. Want you both so much. Need—" Brody moaned, obviously beyond forming coherent sentences now.

Zak panted, eyes closed and muscles tense—as if struggling for control as well. "Bed. Now. Both of you."

While perhaps not terribly articulate, that sounded like the best idea any of them had had all day to Lark. He tugged furiously at them, urging his lovers to get a move on until they all collapsed onto the bed in a tangle of legs, arms, wandering hands and hard, urgent kisses.

"Need you. Can’t lose you. Need you both so much." Brody was breathing hard, his voice tight and strained as he reached down to wrap his hand around Lark’s cock.

Lark nearly shot right then and there as Brody began to stroke him with a firm, determined motion. Fortunately, Zak swooped in—slowing Brody by joining him in wrapping his hand around Lark’s cock.

"Slow down. I want to do this right. To…to take care of you both. Properly."

Reaching across, Zak snagged condoms and lube from the bedside table. Then he kissed softly at Lark’s temple. "I love you." Turning his head, he did the same thing to Brody.

And there was nothing else to say. The sweet, gentle caress, the words—they swelled inside him, opening him up again and pushing away the small, scared feeling deep inside. Everything had clamped down to protect him, to keep him safe and moving during the afternoon, but it hadn’t let him go after the crisis had passed. But knowing Zak and Brody were alive and loved him—it was everything and the only thing he’d ever needed. He focussed on that and pushed everything else away.

"I love you both so much. Want to feel you both fucking me. Please. Please," Lark begged.

He needed it. Had to feel them and know everything was going to be all right now.

Brody kissed him. "Anything you want, Lark. Anything you need. Love you so much."

Lark scrambled to his knees. In an instant Brody was covering him. Holding him and completely surrounding him with the warmth of his body. He felt more than saw Brody accept lube onto his fingers from Zak then begin to finger and prepare his hole—gently circling and relaxing before pushing in to start loosening tight muscles.

Brody’s fingers inside him were magic—so exactly what he needed right now.

"Oh, yeah! Need you, Brody. Need you so much. Do it. Do it now!"

"Patience," Zak said. "I need to get Brody ready first."

Trapped beneath Brody, Lark experienced through his connection to his lover Zak beginning the preparations. He felt Brody push back eagerly as Zak’s fingers breached him. He heard the moan against his ear as Zak stretched Brody open. And he felt the fine tremors of need vibrating against his back. Brody’s breath stirred the hairs of his nape as he panted—desperate for more.

Finally, Lark couldn’t wait.

"Now! Need you now! Brody! Zak! Please!"

Brody shifted his hips into position and Lark pushed back to let the soft, slick pucker of his hole meet the tip of Brody's cock. Yes. This was what he wanted. What he needed.

In fairness, Brody tried to go slow, but Lark’s body demanded more. Now. He thrust back hard and took the head of Brody’s cock in one sweet moment of agony, then pressed on—not stopping until Brody was buried balls deep inside him.

"Oh, fuck!" Brody cried.

"Wait! I need…I need to be with you," Zak whispered urgently behind them.

Lark held very still as he felt Zak work his way into Brody’s body. Shallow thrusts as they moved and joined together behind him sent electric jolts of sensation racing over his skin as Brody’s cock head nudged and stimulated his prostate again and again.

"Oh…move. Brody…Zak…somebody. I need…" Lark moaned and thrashed his head from side to side as he clung by his fingertips to control.

"Hush." Zak reached forward and stroked Lark’s hip—soothing the reprimand with his warm caress. "You ready, Brody?" Zak asked, ever the protector.

Fortunately, Lark felt Brody nod against his back. He couldn’t take any more waiting.

Echo’s of the slow thrusts Zak began into Brody moved forward into Lark, gradually building in intensity as Brody started to add to the force. It was perfect—all three of them joined and moving as one. A blissful rhythm that went on and on.

Then Brody’s hand reached around Lark’s body. All it took was the lightest of touches to his shaft and Lark’s straining cock burst into orgasm, pushing long jets of warm cum out of his body and across Brody’s hand and the sheets beneath them.

Within seconds, he felt Brody’s cock throbbing in his ass. Zak cried out immediately after as the chain reaction of their lovemaking claimed them all.

Finally, after long moments of ecstasy, Brody collapsed on the mattress beside him and Zak followed him down. Carefully avoiding the wet patch, Lark eased himself down too—straight into Brody’s waiting arms. 

Lark closed his eyes and sighed with a mix of relief and contentment. His lovers had given him exactly what he’d needed—shelter from the storm, a place to come home and centre himself again.

Wiggling and squirming, Lark rolled over until he could press a kiss to Brody’s chest.

"Love you." Reaching over he stroked Zak’s arm where it rested over Brody and cradled them close. "Love you too."

This was it—all that mattered. The three of them together and safe in each other’s arms.

Relaxing against Brody, listening to them all breathing together, Lark let himself drift slowly off to sleep—exhausted but finally feeling a little more like himself again, peaceful and settled.

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