All The Mess Of Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Three people. Two of them married to each other but both in love with the third. Can they find a way to a Happily Ever After for all?
This story contains explicit sexual content/descriptions.

Submitted: September 24, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 24, 2016



In the seventeen years since his father’s death when he had taken the reigns of the rule of his Clan, Caber had been content to do his duty and fulfil the role of leader his clan needed.
He had married the female best suited to bare his young. Maris was a worthy female and had given him two fine offspring. He had always honoured her. She was all a clan leader’s mate should be.
She was not loud and overly bold in her opinions. She wasn’t quick to laugh at him when she thought he did not see, or slyly mock his gruff manner. She didn’t do whatever she felt like, whenever the mood struck her. She did not take her pleasure with whomever she pleased, refusing to take a mate as a female should. 
She didn’t drive him crazy with fantasies of tearing her clothes off and taking her hard against the nearest wall as he marked her skin with his teeth and hands.
Caber’s claws punctured the hardwood frame of the window he gripped as his blood boiled with frustration... and shame.
Yet he could not take his fevered gaze off of the female that was all those things as she threw her head back with laughter at something one of his warriors said to her as the male lowered her off her mount. Arms lingering around her too long as she leaned back against them while she smilingly replied to whatever the male said to amuse her so.
He bit back the menacing growl that wanted to escape his throat at the sight of that casual embrace. In public. Where everyone who cared to look could see. 
He snarled and tore himself away from the window and made a deliberate effort to sheath his claws and sit at his desk. He had work to do, decisions to make about his clan’s well-being. He had no business wishing to rip off the arms of his warrior when the male had every right to touch Jasmine however she allowed it.
Unlike Caber, that warrior was unmarried and unmated. He could court any available female of the clan openly. If Jasmine allowed it, the warrior could touch her, kiss her, mark her however he wished - right there in the front courtyard for all to see.
He closed his eyes as he deliberately forced himself to see it in his mind. He had no right to object to such a thing. Maris may not be his mate but she was his wife and the mother of his cubs. He would not dishonour himself or his wife with this mad hunger for another female.
He dug his stubbornly unfurled claws deep into his thigh muscles. The pain made him grunt but he did not relent until his cock stopped throbbing insistently. He felt the trickle of blood pool in the crease of his groin. He let the pain wash over him, taking it as his due punishment. He mopped it carelessly with his kilt as he covered himself again and wiped his hands on the rag already showing several blood stains from similar occasions in the past.
He shoved the rag back into the bottom drawer and focused on his work with grim determination. 


‘Oh, you are bad.’
Jasmine laughed with amusement as Warrik dragged her down off her horse and wrapped his powerful arms around her to keep her put.
‘Oh, you have no idea how bad I could be if you’d let me.’ 
His hands smoothed down the length of her back to gently press her against his body. She could feel the hard outline of his cock against her belly so she was pretty sure she understood just how much he would like to show her his bad side. She threw her head back, charmed by his honest desire as much as his playful grin.
‘I think I get the idea, Warrik.’ She shook her head laughingly and wriggled out of his loose embrace. He let her go easily, of course. No clan male would force his attentions on a female. And she was tempted to give into his determined pursuit, except she knew that he wanted more than a night of pleasure in her bed. 
She was not going to give him false hopes.
So she kept it light and playful but firmly kept him at a distance. Warrick deserved a female who wanted him as much as he wanted her. That would not be Jasmine. No, never her. All she could offer was a night or two of pleasure given and received without expectations for more. 
She kept her smile fixed on her lips as she waved to the male and rushed for her rooms in the healer’s tower.
She did not allow her steps to slow or falter as she passed by the clan chief’s study on her way. The door was closed today, she noticed with relief. She didn’t have it in her to face those dark piercing eyes with no one around but one did not walk past the chieftain without showing respectful courtesy.
A soft snort escaped her as she smiled ruefully. Not that she had ever managed to show him such in the past. Something inside her refused to give him the same awed courtesy all others treated him with. She could not stop herself from poking at his grim manner until she could see that spark of fire deep in his black eyes. No matter how dangerously inappropriate, the thrill of that fiery glare made her alive in the way nothing else managed to.
Sometimes she lay in bed and imagined him looking at her with those devil’s eyes as she stroked herself to climax stronger than any male had been able to give her.
Of course, she was not alone in her lustful thoughts - no female of childbearing age could be unaware of his magnetic virility. It was the nature’s way to desire the most powerful male to sire the cubs and no one was more powerful in the Clan then it’s chieftain.
There was no shame in the natural pull he had. What shamed her was not her urges toward his body but her inappropriate jealousy and possessiveness she had no right to. Lady Maris was the most gracious female who had welcomed her into the clan keep and offered her the honoured position as it’s healer when she’d lost her father and brothers to the whims of fate. 
Oh, Jasmine would not have been left alone or undefended; her healing skills would have made her a welcome addition to any township. But being the chieftain’s keep healer made her part of a very select circle that came with freedoms and privilege she was not too proud to admit she enjoyed immensely. The past six months had been the best of her life.
Her position as healer gave her leeway that most females did not enjoy. She could choose not to marry if she wished. After all, she had no family left to pressure her to take a mate. 
Climbing the last few steps to her tower rooms, Jasmine shut the door behind her firmly and allowed herself a moment of sorrow at that thought. No matter how meddlesome and controlling her father and brothers had been, she missed them now that they were gone. 
‘You would have me mated to Warrik within a week, father.’ She whispered with a sad smile as she approached the portrait of her family she’d mounted above the fireplace. It was painted when she had been just a baby. Her mother seated with her males standing around her as she cradled Jasmine in her arms. Her father gripped her shoulder possessively and her two brothers stood on either side of the chair. They were nearly grown and painted in their freshly received warrior gear. So proud, she smiled with fond memory.
They had been so much older than her, they had often behaved as if she were their child rather then sister.
They would have liked Warrick too. She grinned with a sudden amusement. Hell, they would have liked any male capable of managing their stubbornly independent baby sister.
But as much as they had loved her, the males in her family had not really understood her desire to stay untethered to any male but her mate.
She would not marry.
Not unless she found her mate of the heart. And after more than thirty summers of life, it became less and less likely she would ever find him.
‘Well, not for the lack of trying.’ She muttered with another muffled snort as she pulled off her sweaty riding clothes on the way to her bathing room.


By the time she washed and changed, it was midday and well past time to return to her distillery. She had potions and herbs to mix. She had learned the herbal arts at the healer's college. Her mentors had insisted she not rely on her healing ability for every little ailment and injury that could just as easily be fixed by more mundane means. With years, Jasmine had learned to accept that wisdom and saved her energy for those emergencies that truly demanded her unique talents.
Also, the herbal arts relaxed her and occupied her mind so she did not dwell on the things best not dwelled upon.
‘My lady?’ a croak interrupted her musings on the particular consistency of the salve she was preparing. A young male in training hovered in the door uncertainly, his young face flushing as she lifted her eyebrows in question. He must’ve been knocking to no response for a while, before finally opening the door. She wiped her hands on the nearby rag and straightened to stretch her back, stifling the smile at the youngster’s goggling eyes on her breasts as they pressed against the front of her shirt.
Poor thing would burst into flames if she didn’t stop teasing him, she thought with an inner chuckle.
‘What is it, Samir?’
She prompted as he seemed to forget his purpose for knocking on her door.
‘Er, lady Maris sent me to ask you to join the chieftain’s table this evening. There will be guests at the table and she wishes to have another lady present.’
The youngster straightened as he delivered his message dutifully. Jasmine smiled at him approvingly even as she groaned at the invitation.
Lady Maris often asked her to attend when they had guests. The lady was shy by nature and it was a strain for her to be the focus of too many strange warriors. Jasmine had no such problem, most of the time and gladly served as additional hostess. But she was not feeling her usual self lately and wished she could refuse the invitation.
But that would be selfish, of course. And she felt enough guilt where lady Maris was concerned already...
‘Please tell your lady I’ll be there shortly. I just need to put on something other then these scandalous breaches if I’m to be presentable in decent company.’ She gestured at the worn leggings she wore when she worked. Skirts were too dangerous around a fire and delicate potions that can be volatile when combined incorrectly. 
‘Oh!’ the boy blushed, his eyes wide ‘You look beautiful in anything, my lady!’
‘That’s very gallant of you, young warrior.’ She patted his shoulder as he bashfully ducked his head at his blurted admiration. Samir couldn’t imagine anyone objecting to anything lady Jasmine did or wore. She was the most wonderful, beautiful, kindest, smartest lady in the keep. In the whole Clan! 
His shoulder tingled where she had touched him as she passed him and his eyes glued to the sway of her hips in those tight breeches as she rushed. Gods, he would probably explode if she actually touched his bare skin, he gulped at the rush of fevered images that filled his mind at the thought


Caber gritted his teeth until his jaw threatened to crack as another rumble of low laughter mixed with Jasmine’s lighter chuckles. He grimly kept his eyes fixed on the food before him as he did his best to listen to the chieftain Makur’s words. But the chieftain could not compete with the sound of the infernal female several seats to his right as she leaned closer to the warrior seated beside her to murmur softly in his ear. Whatever she said made the male rumble appreciatively and Caber could practically smell the male’s lust from where he sat. 
A soft hand covered his where he was denting the cup with his claws. He looked up into Maris’ concerned soft brown gaze and forced himself to calm the beast that always seemed too close to the surface these days.
He pulled his hand out from under her touch and forced a small smile of gratitude  to soften the instinctive rejection. The hesitant smile she gave him in return told him that she knew something was wrong but he knew his wife would not push him for an explanation.
‘Lady Jasmine has still not chosen a male, I see.’ Makur’s sudden change of subject made him wonder if his behaviour wasn’t more obvious than he hoped.
‘No, but not for lack of offers.’ Maris smiled as everyone looked upon the beautiful healer. Her red hair was swept over one shoulder and held in one thick rope with several golden rings that showed off the vibrancy of the colour to its advantage. As did the plain black of her gown. The soft material glowed warmly under the lights and it’s stark lack of adornment only enhanced the extravagant beauty of her pale white skin. The long neck bare of a male’s claiming collar was a blatant challenge to all the alpha males in the room and Caber would wager the healer knew exactly the effect of it had.
‘But the lady had told me that she would not take any but her mate’s collar.’ Maris’ words made the beast stir demandingly under his skin again. He had not known the healer had such romantic views of marriage. He had thought her only happy to bed whomever she liked rather than commit to one male alone.
‘With such beauty and talent as well, she can afford to do as she pleases, I suppose.’ Makur shrugged off the news as only a happily mated male can.  
‘Lady Jasmine is not a female to care if her actions please others or not.’ Caber growled.
‘You do not approve?’ Makur’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. Caber made himself calmly hold the other chieftain’s gaze, showing nothing of his inner turmoil at the subject.
‘She has my protection.’ He replied without answering the question.
And ultimately that was all that mattered anyway. As long as Caber claimed her under his protection, she may do as she pleases. Even if that turned out to be torture every male unfortunate enough to come under her spell.
‘I sometimes wish I were more like lady Jasmine.’ Maris murmured. The soft words struck him painfully. He looked at his wife with sharp eyes. She was looking at the healer with a wistful look. Almost with longing. There seemed no jealousy in his lady’s manner, no sigh of her being aware that her husband longed for the female she envied so much.
‘You have your own kind of beauty and talent, my lady.’ He made himself say. For it was true enough that Maris was a wonderful mother and nurturing lady of the keep. He covered her soft hand briefly with his own before changing the subject to a less uncomfortable topic.


Maris kept her soft smile fixed on her lips as her husband pulled his hand away after that brief squeeze of comfort. She appreciated his attempt at comfort - even if he was mistaken in thinking that she needed it.
She felt no envy toward lady Jasmine. Oh no. Her...longing, was entirely less pedestrian. 
She allowed herself another look at the vibrant healer and felt the usual twist of need in her chest, coupled with a quiet despair.
She was married to the most powerful male, a chieftain of one of the most powerful clans in the land. He had never dishonoured her in the nearly fourteen years they have been married. Nor had she ever even been tempted to look upon another male with desire in her eyes.
But then Jasmine had arrived at the keep and something had awoken within Maris. Something hot and fierce she had not even suspected slept within her timid soul. She had looked upon the other female and had wanted to touch her the way she had never wanted to touch another. 
Not in search of her own pleasure, but with the need to worship every part of her soft body. She longed to hear Jasmine moan her name as she found her pleasure. She wanted to be the one to make her arch and pant with need. She wanted that silky hair matted and damp with sweat on Maris’ bed linens. Just thinking about it had her on the verge of climax, more aroused than she had ever been in her whole life.
Caber was a fierce and passionate lover and had always given her pleasure in the past. But lately, she could not help but be grateful that he had not come to her bed in quite some time.
She feared to ask his reasons in case he took it as an invitation so she had just accepted his absence with unquestioning gratitude. In the first few months, she’d suspected he had another lover among the clan but it soon became clear that was not the case. There were no unexplained absences. In fact, he very rarely left his study when he was not training with his warriors. He worked himself harder than he ever had as if some demons drove him to exhaustion. 
She had attempted to gently offer her concern but he had denied anything was worrying him. 
So with a guilty relief, Maris had accepted the new distance between them. She’d wondered if perhaps he didn’t sense her feelings for lady Jasmine, but she eventually realised that Caber would never keep quiet about such a thing. 
When they had married, he had promised her that should she suspect another to be her true mate, he would release her from their union.
But she would never know if Jasmine was her mate. That required exchange of an intimate kind and the healer had never shown any inclination toward anything but males. So Maris would never get to confirm her belief that she had finally found her mate in the healer.
If such was to be her fate, she may as well remain as she was. At least she had a purpose in her role as the lady of the chieftain’s keep.
And she got to spend time with her beloved, no matter how painful such crumbs occasionally felt.


Maris desperately tugged on the water saturated dress as she prayed that Jasmine would wake up and say she was fine. But she had seen her head smack hard against the rock as the rushing water flung their makeshift raft against it. Jasmine had taken the brunt of the impact as she curled her body around Maris. The healer had saved her several times over since the attack. First by fighting off the males left to guard what they thought were two helpless females. And then when they went into the rushing river when there were no other avenues of escape.
Maris had had trouble holding onto the log in the wild water and Jasmine had wrapped herself around her to hold her there. If she had not done it, Maris would have slipped away and drowned.
But now they were finally out of the rushing river and far enough away from the brigands and Jasmine had finally collapsed - as if giving her body permission to relax once the immediate danger was passed.
The night was falling and it was getting too cold to keep the wet clothes on. Maris was trembling with the cold and she was not injured. Whatever healing talent Jasmine had, Maris wasn’t sure how it worked on the woman herself. What she did know was that if she did not keep her warm, Jasmine would go into shock and die. 
Determined not to allow that, she wrestled Jasmine’s dress off of her and then her own. 
She gathered the dry moss around them as a makeshift blanket then added the fallen leaves on top. It was the best she could do. That and their combined body heat would have to do until the morning.
As she gathered Jasmine’s shivering body against her own, she shuddered with guilty pleasure to feel the female she loved naked in her arms, no matter the circumstances.
As her body burst into passionate heat, Maris allowed the guilty pleasure to wash over her because Jasmine needed that warmth however it came about. She stroked the length of her beloved’s back as she pressed together as much of their skin as she could manage. She lifted Jasmine’s leg over her own thigh. As she felt the intimate press of groins, the rush of desire became more than she could resist. Her hands slid down to cup Jasmine’s chilled bottom and softly kneaded the flesh until it warmed under her touch. She felt her shivering lessen with  every minute until finally the female sighed against her neck and nuzzled in closer. 
‘Jasmine?’ Maris murmured huskily into the female’s ear as she stroked her from neck to the crease of her bottom. 
‘mm mm...warm...’ Jasmine nuzzled closer into the crook her neck and pressed her breasts against Maris’.
The brush of their nipples felt so good, Maris moaned loudly, unable to contain the pleasure of it.
Her fingers found the soft damp fold of her pussy and when Jasmine sighed and lifted her leg higher on her waist, Maris grew bolder and stroked her clit until Jasmine’s hips pressed into the touch. Pressed tightly together as they were, Maris felt the trickle of Jasmine’s wetness on her own leg. She opened her mouth wide on Jasmine’s shoulder, licking and nipping at it with frantic little bites as she sank two fingers into Jasmine’s pussy. The wet heat and tightness made Maris go a little crazy and she sank her teeth into Jasmine’s shoulder as she felt her fingers being squeezed with hard pulses of the female’s orgasm. Unable to help herself, Maris plunged those same fingers into her own pussy, convulsing almost instantly around them as their juices mixed inside her.
She shuddered hard as the mate bond snapped into place, prolonging her pleasure until she cried out hoarsely.
She felt soft hands stroke her cheeks, her neck and shoulders as she shook with the reaction. She was burning up and was thinking in the corner of her dazed mind that this was a good thing, that her mate needed the heat of it.
‘’s all right. I’m all right. You took care of me, Maris. You did well, sweet lady. Shhhhh..’ Jasmine murmured as she stroked her soothingly. Her healer’s touch leeched the dangerous heat away and used it to finish healing her own lingering chill. 


Jasmine grappled with the idea that the chieftain’s lady was mated to her as she helped the lady through the turbulence of the bonding. 
She tested the bond. There was an unmistakable connection between them. It was a genuine mating even if it was mostly one sided. Jasmine had heard of such things happening and knew that sometimes it was a terrible fate for the one bound.
Jasmine was still free to do as she wished - with whomever she wished. While Maris was forever bound to her, unable to bare anyone else's touch until the day she died.
The chieftain’s wife mated to another would turn the clan upside down for sure.
Of course, the mating took precedence over marriage - no matter how long the two had been married or the cubs they had together. The custom of the clan demanded the chieftain release Maris.
But Maris would be judged for giving into the pull while belonging to him. 
If not for the unanticipated attack by the brigands, Maris probably never would have, Jasmine thought. The gentle female was too circumspect to give into her deepest desires when she saw her duty  elsewhere. But with Jasmine’s life endangered...all those inhibitions were crushed under the force of instinct as old as their people.
Jasmine stroked the soft brown strands of Maris’ hair off her flushed face. She felt tenderness fill her as Maris’ eyes fluttered open and all the vulnerable need looked up at her. How could she refuse her, she thought. All she had ever wanted was to find her mate, to have someone need her and look at her as if she was the only person in the world that mattered.
‘I’m honoured, Maris.’ She spoke gently. The brown eyes filled with tears at the soft words.
‘But you are not mine as I am yours. You may turn me away if you wish.’ Maris spoke with more bravery than anyone ever would have granted the gentle lady. Jasmine smiled with sincere admiration as she leaned down to hush any more words with a soft kiss on those trembling lips. Maris lay still as if afraid breathing would disturb the moment.
‘Perhaps the mating bond is not mutual. But that does not mean that I do not care. I can feel you, my lady. I would never willingly hurt you.’ She pressed soft kisses over Maris’ wet cheeks with every avowal. 
‘I have always longed for a mate. And now here you are...’ she grinned at the female as Maris finally took a deep breath. The hope bloomed in the soft brown eyes and Maris’ arms lifted to wrap around Jasmine’s waist as she buried her face in her neck and inhaled deeply of her her scent.
‘I am yours. I’ve been yours from the moment I first saw you. I knew it. I always knew it...’ Maris admitted as she held her tightly. Then she froze.
‘Caber...’ Maris moaned as she pulled her face away from Jasmine’s neck reluctantly, even as her hands tightened on around her waist.
‘’s not an easy situation.’ Jasmine allowed with dry understatement.
‘But that is for tomorrow to worry about. For now, let’s just rest. My head still aches a bit and I need to regain my strength before I’m ready to tell my chieftain that I’m stealing his wife.’ She rolled over onto her back with a groan and Maris flushed guiltily. She was not taking care of her mate as she should.
Jasmine allowed her to fuss, feeling Maris’ need to care for her even though she was mostly healed. Her healing talent sped up the natural process significantly and the mating bond fed her strength from Maris in strong pulses of life energy. It made Maris happier to fuss over her so Jasmine submitted to it. She allowed her eyes to close and summoned sleep. They would have a long walk home in the morning. The river had taken them far enough downstream that they probably need not worry about the bandits searching for them. If they had any wit at all, they were far from the area by now. If the chieftain finds them anywhere on his land, they would pray for death before he was done with them.
She winced as she contemplated what he would have to say about the two of them leaving the keep without sufficient protection. 


The males stared at the two entwined bodies with breathless disbelief. 
They had spent the night searching for the chieftain’s lady and the healer since they found evidence of the bandit’s attack. Caber had been almost feral with fear.
And now...this.
There was no doubt in any of their minds that the two females so intimately entwined were lovers. His wife’s hand was cupping the healer’s breast with one hand while the other possessively dug into a soft curve of the lush female buttock. Even in sleep, his wife was nuzzling lovingly against the other breast. Something must’ve made the two aware they were being observed because they stirred, hands wrapping around one another in the instinctive need even as eyes fluttered open in the predawn light.
‘Goddess...’ Jasmine spied their audience first, tightening her grip around Maris’ hip as his wife stirred and made for the nipple under her mouth as if unable to resist the temptation.
‘Maris...wake up. We seem to be rescued.’ Her mouth pulled into a wry smile as she saw the stony look of her chieftain. 
‘Wha..?’ his wife seemed slow to wake, reluctantly peeling herself off Jasmine’s body under her. At Jasmine’s nudging, she finally looked up at her husband’s grim face and paled.
‘My lord...’ she whispered shakily.
‘My lady. Perhaps you could put on some clothing?’ he knew his voice did not hide the depth of his rage at the sight. What he did hope was that no one understood the true reason behind it.
He tore his eyes away from the two females and his words had snapped his men out of their own shock so they too turned away to give the two some privacy while they dressed.
‘It’s going to be all right, don’t worry, sweet. He’ll understand.’ He heard Jasmine comfort his wife and was surprised at the easy way Maris accepted such reassurance despite any reasonable person knowing that it was NOT all right to betray a husband and chieftain - and so publicly.
He couldn’t resist such provocation. He turned furiously at the two and snarled as he took two menacing steps toward Jasmine. 
To his shock, Maris cried out and jumped protectively in front of the healer with claws fully extended.
‘She’s mine!’ she snarled at him, as fierce as any warrior he’d ever seen and he felt his gut drop as he realised.
‘You’re mated.’ He said through numb lips. He blinked stupidly as he saw his wife nod fiercely as Jasmine put her hand on her shoulder.
He stumbled back as if gut punched. He couldn’t help looking at the female his wife defended so fiercely. He heard a sharp bark of something resembling laughter escape him at the thought of Jasmine needing protection from him. Or Maris, his gentle, timid wife standing up to him to provide it.
The world had gone crazy. This could not be happening.
The gods were laughing at him until tears ran down their cruel faces.
The female he had desperately been trying to stay away from is his lady wife’s mate.


‘I’m worried about him.’
Maris looked at the grim form of her former husband through the window of Jasmine’s tower rooms. She had been almost pathetically grateful when Jasmine had invited her to move in with her upon their return to the keep those weeks ago. Once they had reached the keep, Caber had gone about informing the clan of the events in the matter of fact manner that left no room for questions or discussion. 
Mates came above everything. No argument allowed.
The chieftain’s unquestioning acceptance of it made it easier for Maris then she ever could have hoped. Jasmine had been equally as wonderful with allowing her into her life and her space.
Caber has even declared Maris the chatelaine of the keep - as he had no female relative to take the traditional role in the absence of wife, so she continued her duties with his full support. 
Even her cubs had come to accept the situation after a brief time of awkwardness. Mostly due to the fact that they were just as enchanted with Jasmine as any male who came into her orbit. 
‘He will find a female when he is ready.’
Maris shook her head at Jasmine’s words. She wasn’t so sure that it was losing his wife that had caused this terrible change in Caber. He grew harsher and more feral with each passing day. Some daemon had ridden him even before her mating to Jasmine. She remembered his moods and his absence from her bed. 
‘Something is eating at him.’ She insisted, ‘Yes, he has always been self-contained and somewhat intimidating. But he had never been so short tempered. Almost feral...’ 
Jasmine looked up from her list of supplies she needed to collect from the market and joined her by the window. She frowned at the sight of Caber ruthlessly beating the living breath out of his opponent. Even from this far away, she could almost feel his feral need to tear and rend into his opponent. 
‘You’re right. He has always been in control of the beast. Now he looks barely holding it in.’
And it was wrong of her to drink in the sight of his muscled form, glistening with the sweat; making her fingers itch to stroke and shape. Wanting to feel all that ferocity unleash in passion under her hands...
She turned away from the temptation.
‘Will you try to talk to him? He may say something to a healer in confidence...’ Maris faltered as Jasmine turned to give an incredulous look.
‘You think he would open up to the female his wife left him for? I’m probably the last person in the world he’d have anything to say to.’
But Maris had changed since their mating. She no longer seemed content to yield to forceful personalities. 
‘Please, at least make the attempt. I feel like we owe him that much at least for all he did for us.’
Jasmine grumbled but could not dispute the truth of that. He had made it easy for them with the clan when he had every reason not to. And they did owe him a debt for that. 
Besides...she wanted to help him. Her guilt at the lustful thoughts he still inspired within her should not make her overcompensate by avoiding him at every turn. Maris might come to suspect the real reason behind her reluctance and would be hurt by it.
‘Fine. I’ll try.’
Maris smiled widely and threw herself at her, pulling her in for a kiss that then turned into a passionate embrace with Jasmine leaning against the wall as her mate licked her to a quick shuddering orgasm.
Maris couldn’t get enough of her taste and took any opportunity to dive between her legs. Something about the mate bond demanded she pleasured Jasmine often, needing her to smell of satisfied female when surrounded by others. Jasmine didn’t comment on it after the first time Maris got upset when she washed after their lovemaking and Maris was grateful for her understanding  and indulging her insecurity. 


‘My lord...’ 
Caber stiffened at the sound of that husky voice that haunted his sleeping hours. He splashed more water over his sweaty face and chest, hoping she’d leave if he ignored her long enough.
‘You are injured. Allow me to attend to your wound.’ She pressed her fingers just under the slash on his ribcage and Caber forgot how to breathe. 
She was touching him.
She’s never touched him before. His muscles quivered under the gentle probing as if trying to leap into her hand. He was frozen, afraid if he made a single move, he would do something unforgivable like drag her down onto the ground and devour her one starved bite.
How could she be another’s?
He raged inside at the very thought. She came around to face him, keeping her fingers on the long muscle under the slash. 
‘I’m sorry. The pain will go way in a moment.’ She frowned as he shuddered again, unable to restrain his reaction to her touch. 
He grabbed her hand and pulled it off of his skin before he lost it.
‘I’m fine. It’s just a scratch. I’ve had dozens worse.’
His voice was a raspy growl, hardly human.
He turned away to splash more water on his face from the bucket, needing an excuse to look away from her. He took a deep breath in an effort and a lungful of pheromones filled him. He snarled and smashed the water bucket before he could even begin to control his rage at the evidence of another’s touch on her. Suddenly, it was all just too much. He sat hard on the ground and leaned against the wall as he closed his eyes in despair.
‘Just...go. Please, I beg you. Just leave me alone.’ He rasped. He didn’t care that he begged her. He didn’t care that there may be others who could walk into the training yard despite the way he had scared them all away. He just didn’t have it in him to care any more.
He let all the misery of it all wash over him, the hopelessness of it. For just one moment, he’ll let it all out. Maybe it would be better to stop pretending.
But she didn’t leave.
He felt her sink down before him and then her hands were cupping his face, thumbs stroking his sharp cheekbones with such tenderness, his chest cracked open until there was nothing but the raw meat of his heart exposed for all to see. 
‘Don’t.’ He moaned as he opened his eyes.
Oh, there was such caring, such tender worry in her beautiful green eyes, he fell in and drowned his parched soul in it. He was clutching her to him, pressing his face in her belly as his arms tightened around her like steel bands.
‘Shhh...I’m here. I’m here.’ 
‘You’re not mine. You’re not mine...’ he muttered into her belly even as he tried to absorb her into him. He said the words over and over but he couldn’t make himself believe them. 
‘Caber...Caber, look at me. Look at me!’ she tugged sharply on his hair, the sharp pain of it just as welcome from her hands as any tender touch. But he looked up and made his arms loosen and fall away. He was making a fool of himself. He made himself lift his eyes.
‘You’re going to get up and come with me. You will tell me what the problem is.’ She looked at him fiercely, as if his refusal was not even an option. And what did it matter, anyway. He had already made a fool of himself in front of her. Practically sobbing into her like a cub.
So he rose  and followed her until they were in his study and the door was closed behind them.
She never released his hand and he wasn’t sure was capable of releasing it even if she tried to take it away.
‘I have had enough of this brooding ....’
‘I want you to be mine.’ He blurted out. It interrupted her tirade, leaving her open-mouthed.
‘I know you are mated to Maris. I know!’ he repeated hoarsely.’But I can’t stop wanting to make you mine. I feel like you belong to me. Not her.’ 
He released her hand and took several steps away, now that he had finally let the truth out. He needed distance for the blow that would come any moment. He clenched his stomach muscles as if for a physical punch.
‘I’m not mated to Maris. The bond is only on her side.’
The quiet words finally breached the silence.
He stared at her stupidly. He had finally gone crazy. He was imagining it. 
‘I said that the mating bond is not mutual.’
And then he was on her. No power in the world could have stopped him from reaching for her. He took her mouth, pulling her shirt off her, mindlessly tearing at the material until it was gone. The breeches were disposed in the same way and then he was pressing her against the wall and his cock was sinking into the hot wet heat of her pussy. He howled - howled! - at the feel of her closed tightly around him as her arms and legs came around him. He panted breathlessly against her throat as his lungs worked like bellows. He couldn’t stop shaking, his knees giving way and making him fall to the floor with her clutched tightly in his arms.
‘It’s all right. I’m here. I’m here.’ She spoke huskily as he struggled for any kind of composure. She shifted on his lap, sliding over his cock with such rapturous pleasure he moaned again and sank his teeth into the soft flesh of her shoulder. She shuddered and tilted her head to give him even better access.
‘Take me...bite me.’ She gasped as she rolled her hips again. 
So he sank his teeth until her blood filled his mouth and marked her as everything in him demanded.


Goddess, yes. This is what she had wanted every time she looked at him. That big powerful body working between her legs, taking and giving so much pleasure her vision blurred. His bite made her cry out with primal satisfaction as the bond snapped into place.
He was hers, she felt the bond tie them together, the connection open both ways in a mutual mating. She came apart as he gushed his seed inside her with a harsh muffled shout against her flesh. He withdrew his teeth and reverently licked the mark he had given her. The scar would be big and easily seen. He had not given her a gentle, token nip but a true mark of his possession.
He had been mostly feral and had she not wanted him just as much it would have been painful. But all she felt was a deep sense of contentment and rightness.
Until she felt the bewilderment and then pain through her bond to Maris. She sighed as she opened her eyes and made herself pull away.
‘No.’ He growled as his arms tightened around her.
‘Caber...’ she sighed chidingly, even as she sank into him.’...she is hurting.’
His arms spasmed around her as he grunted. He licked his mark on her shoulder with a possessive attentiveness.
‘She’s had you for weeks. You’re mine now.’ He pulled away to look at her with a triumphant fire in his black gaze ‘and I am yours.’
The certainty of the mutual mating gave him a disquietingly smug look that worried her.
‘Do you mean to forbid me to her? Is that what you intend to do? Let her suffer as you have been suffering? Are you that cruel?’ she would not let him hide from the truth. 
He snarled at her, but his hold on her only tightened instead of pushing her away. 
‘How can you ask me to let you go only moments after I finally claimed you?’ he shouted angrily. His cock was still inside her, for god’s sake. She couldn’t really expect him to consider another’s feelings after he had only just barely escaped going crazy from wanting her.
Jasmine sighed.
It was an impossible situation. She didn’t know what to do. What was the right thing in such a muddled situation? Caber was her mate body and soul, but the bond with Maris was just as real, and she had grown to care for the female in the past few weeks. She couldn’t imagine abandoning her utterly. The pain coming through the bond was making her heart ache and she rubbed her chest as if soothing a physical ache.
Connected as they were, Caber could not deny the pain was real to his mate. And while his beast snarled at another laying claim on his mate, he couldn’t bare her to suffer because of him.
‘I don’t know if I can let you go.’ 
He looked away as he forced to release his grip around her. As she lifted her body away, he felt panic at the loss of the physical connection. He tightened his grip on the mate bond, throwing himself into it until he could feel the rush of blood in her veins and the stretch of overworked muscles.
Jasmine lifted her ruined shirt and equally useless breeches before throwing them back on the floor. Caber rose and opened the door to his private rooms, coming back with one of his shirts. She put it on and saw it covered her almost to her knees. She pulled her ruined breeches on and used his belt to hold the torn sides together. The shirt will cover the damage. Not that it mattered. Everyone will know what had happened soon enough. 
She was exhausted. The emotional storm of the last hour has taken it’s toll and she just wanted to curl against her mate and sleep. But Maris was in pain and she couldn’t let that wait until she was rested.
‘Then come with me. We must learn to live together anyway. We have to make it work - for all of us, Caber. I won’t be made to choose.’
He stared at her, feeling her determination as well as her fear that he would force her into doing exactly that. She would leave them both if he made her choose and then all of them would be miserable.
Stubborn, compassionate female. He growled as he cupped her face between large palms.
‘I will never let you leave me, Jasmine. Never.’ He kissed her with every ounce of his determination and need. He kissed her as if she was his whole world. Because she was and always would be the most important part of it. 
‘Good. Then you will come with me?’ she swayed into him as he finally let her take a breath. He stole one more hungry kiss then reluctantly let her go.
‘Not this time.’ He shook his head as he rolled his shoulders in the effort to release some of his tension.
‘I doubt Maris will want me there. I think it’s best if you tell her what happened in private.’ 
He would spend the time attempting to come to terms with the situation himself.


Jasmine’s voice was so soft and tender, Maris felt her heart clench. Of course, she regretted the pain this caused her. Jasmine cared for her, even if she was not mated to her. And now that she had a mate bond to another...
The pain almost made her crumple to the ground but she was not going to make a scene. It wasn’t Jasmine’s fault. 
‘Is it...Caber?’
She managed to say it steadily enough. But her knees were getting too shaky and she better sit before she collapsed and made that scene after all. She half fell onto the window seat as Jasmine approached and took her hand. Would this be the last time she touched her, she wondered.
‘It explains so much.’ Maris said as she reluctantly contemplated the pain Caber would have endured all this time - first denying the pull to Jasmine because he was married and then because he thought she was forever out of reach as Maris mated her. She thought she knew exactly what the pain of that had felt like because she was feeling it now herself.
It made it impossible to hate him when she understood the inability to stay away from the one one’s heart yearns for so deeply.
‘It’s a surprise that he had not given in sooner.’
Jasmine sat next to her, pulling her close until she could embrace her.
‘Maris, we will work it out. I’m not abandoning you. I promise.’ She kissed her cheek then her lips as Maris lifted her head off her shoulder in confusion.
‘’re mated to Caber. And he to you.’ There was no room for another in a mutual bond like that.
‘He would never permit me to touch you while he lived.’
No mate would. It was foolish to even think there was a way to keep any part of Jasmine now that she had mated another. Her bond just couldn’t compete.
‘He will if he cares for my wishes. And I do not wish to leave you.’
Maris burst into tears. She couldn’t help it. She’d had every intention of bravely saying goodbye, accepting the inevitable. But in the face of hope, she fell apart in a noisy, sobbing mess. Jasmine held her through the storm of it, feeling the moment when Caber finally accepted the situation as his resignation filtered through their bond.
She sent him her gratitude and admiration and felt his grumbling snort as if he were in the room with her.
‘What was that?’ Maris sniffed and sat up as she made an effort to compose herself.
‘You felt that?’ Jasmine asked with wonder. Perhaps the bonds were more tangled together then any of them had realised. After all, Maris and Caber had been a couple for many years and shared a lot of history long before Jasmine had come into their lives.
‘I felt...something.’ Maris shrugged as she failed to fully grasp the meaning of the mixed up emotions she’d sensed.
‘It was Caber...accepting that you will always be part of my life.’
‘With his trademark lack of grace, I assume?’ Maris actually smiled as she knew exactly what that was like. Caber hated to give in but when he was forced to concede he was wrong, he did it like a little boy - kicking and screaming the whole way.
‘You know him very well.’ Jasmine smiled ‘I envy the years you spent together.’ She found herself admitting.
Maris did laugh at that.
‘Be careful what you wish for. He is not an easy male to live with. But...’ she shook her head, realising her mistake. ‘...he will be different with you. We got along well but he will adore you and put you first no matter what.’ Because that is what every fiber of his being will demand him to do. ‘And so will I.’
Jasmine hugged her tightly then grinned at her evilly. 
‘You shouldn’t have said that. You know there will be no living with me now? I will become the most obnoxiously demanding female in the world.’ She put her nose in the air haughtily as she mimicked flicking lint off her shoulder.
‘I look forward to bringing you down to earth if that happens.’ Maris nipped the bared shoulder. She saw the already healed mating mark Caber had left on the upper curve of it and pressed her lips on the unmarked skin above it.


Jasmine had her share of sly comments over the next few days. After the initial confusion with the mating that involved more than two people, Jasmine was mercilessly teased for her greedy nature. 
She didn’t let any of it bother her too much. She was more concerned with how her mates were handling the situation. She had yet to get the two in the same room for more than a moment or two. 
Caber struggled with his possessive urges that wanted her all to himself and Maris was too afraid to upset him and trigger those urges to approach her.
They had spent the last three nights sleepless in her bed. Whenever she fell asleep and rolled into one of them, the other’s distress jerked her out of slumber. 
If she did not find a way to make it work, she would die of sleep deprivation. Or unfulfilled desire. 
She was so tired, though, she could barely keep her eyes open, let alone think. She sighed as she let herself sink on the bed for just a few minutes before she went down for dinner.
That’s how they found her when they came searching for their missing mate nearly an hour later.
Jasmine was sprawled over the bed in a boneless heap, her dress tangled around her uncomfortably.
‘She’s exhausted.’ Maris pressed her lips tightly at the dark shadows under her beloved’s eyes. ‘She can’t sleep with us on either side of her, pulling at her all night long.’ She sat on the edge of the bed and gently slipped off Jasmine’s shoes then began to loosen the dress from around her. She felt Caber behind her and stiffened as she waited for him to pull her away. 
Instead, he lifted their lady until Maris could pull the uncomfortable dress off, leaving her only in her flimsy underthings.
‘I don’t want to share her with you.’ He rumbled gruffly.
‘I know that. And I don’t really blame you for feeling that way...because I don’t want to share her with you either.’ Maris admitted rather bravely in the face of his narrowed glare.
But then he looked at the sleeping female and his face softened with love.
‘I will learn to share since she will not have me any other way.’ He finally sighed. Maris smiled at him, some of the old affection she’d felt for him coming back. She had always admired his ability to adapt to the necessary and then make the best of it.
‘You did have to mate with a female even more stubborn than yourself.’ She dared to poke at him as relief washed over her.
His grunt was so familiar, she laughed softly and patted his shoulder fondly. It made him look at her in surprise. Then he smiled too.
‘Let’s go to bed then. I could use some sleep too.’
They undressed with the comfort of two people who had seen each other naked many times. Yet there was no sexual tension between them. Both of their bonds were to another, no room for anyone else. 
Caber slid behind Jasmine, curving his body around her back as Maris cuddled up front until Jasmine’s head rested between her breasts. 
The deep sigh of contentment left their mate’s lips as she nestled between them. 
When Jasmine finally woke up, it was to the feel of strong hands delving into her soft pussy while soft lips tugged on her nipple she arched back, meeting the steely length of Caber’s cock pressed against her lower back while he stroked and thrust into her with his fingers. Maris nipped her nipple then sucked it deep into her mouth the way she knew drove her crazy.
‘Wha...’ she gasped as Caber removed his fingers and pushed his cock into her in one long powerful thrust. She cried out and then Maris was there to swallow her cries of pleasure with her mouth. Jasmine felt awash with pleasure as they left no part of her body untouched. The feeling of Caber’s large rough hands pressing against her belly while soft palms cupped her breasts. The rasp of his stubbled chin as he dragged his teeth over her nape. Maris’ silky hair brushing her breasts.
It was too much, yet it was perfect.
She came apart, and her pleasure rushed over the bonds throwing both Maris and Caber over as she swept them along for the ride. 
They collapsed in a tangle of limbs and hair.
Jasmine felt love for the two wonderful people next to her overwhelm her with gratitude. She was so lucky. She had been given so much.
She kissed the offered lips and did her best to show them just how much she loved and wanted them with every lick and nibble of her mouth. 
By the end of the night, they had touched and kissed every part of one another. She urged her mates to touch one another for her pleasure and after a moment of hesitation, they gave in, unable to deny her any pleasure.
‘But I will enter no one but you, my lady. That is for you alone.’ Caber had cautioned her as he gave in to her urge to pleasure Maris with his fingers while she rode him. 
‘I could not do it anyway. Not even for you, love.’ Maris had confessed later as they rested.
‘Fine. So we have found our limits then. I just want us to share the pleasure. I don’t care how as long as we are all together in it. I can’t bare the thought of either of you feeling less in my heart.’
That had provoked them into teaming up on her until she was hoarse with cries of pleasure. She fell atop of Caber with Maris cuddled against his side and half draped over them both.


Caber looked at his ladies as he rode into the yard and grinned as they rushed at him. He leapt off his horse and scooped them both against him, kissing his mate deeply before pressing an affectionate kiss to Maris’ lips as well. 
‘Did you miss me at all?’ he teased.
‘Not at all. I quite enjoyed your absence.’ Maris smiled slyly and he growled at her with a look that promised revenge. Jasmine laughed at their banter as she drew him down for another long kiss.
‘We did miss you. The bed was too big without you. And cold.’
‘Is that all I’m good for? Warming your cold feet?’ he asked silkily.
‘Well...yes.’ She grinned with unapologetic glee then shrieked and ran as he growled and snapped at her with his teeth.
Ran straight to their bed where he caught her and showed what else she missed.
‘Mama, are you not going to join them?’ Simeon asked as Maris shook her head at their antics.
‘Not just yet.’ She wasn’t jealous of these moments when they made love without her. She had enjoyed the nights of having Jasmine to herself after all. It was only fair to give Caber the same opportunity after a week long absence.
Simeon shook his head. Most found the intricate balance of their mating baffling, yet it worked. Seven years later, they were happier than ever.
Because Jasmine refused to have it any other way.






















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