ThreeofHeartsIf you read a Kristina Wright story, you know you’ll be getting a well-written, arousing as hell, quality story. And she’s a fantastic editor as well. Any anthology with her name on the cover as editor will be chock full of amazing stories (My favorite? Possibly Steamlust: Steampunk erotic romance)

Her latest anthology is Three of Hearts: erotic romance for women put out by Cleis Press. I’m proud to say it features one of my stories “What Happens in Denver”.

When co-workers, Gina, Drew, and Paul, are snowed in at Denver Airport, they think themselves lucky to snag the last hotel room. Except it is exactly that: one hotel room.

You can read an excerpt from “What Happens in Denver” below. And of course Three of Hearts: erotic romance for women is available from Amazon and all the usual outlets.

Gina trotted in his wake with Drew, their luggage wheels clacking briskly over the tiled floor. Outside the terminal, the snow blew horizontally, stinging her cheeks even underneath the canopy. Somehow Paul already had a taxi, his bag in the trunk, himself in the front seat gesticulating to the driver. Gina slid into the rear seat with Drew, and the taxi pulled away, snow tires gripping the packed snow. Drew shifted restlessly beside her, his fine woolen suit pulling tight over heavy thighs. Gina watched his hands, clenching and unclenching on his leg. Fine hands for such a solid man. Long fingers. Attractive fingers. Drew seemed agitated. Eager to get home no doubt. She wondered if he had a lover back in Indianapolis.

The hotel foyer was busy, but Paul shouldered his way to the desk, and returned in a few minutes.

“Third floor,” he said.

Paul found room 303 and opened the door. Light spilled across the counterpanes of the two queen beds, eerily harsh from reflected snow. “There’s a problem,” he said. “This is our room.”

Gina looked around. It was the usual clean but nondescript hotel room she stayed in all the time. Bright counterpane over white duvet cover. Standard wooden desk with lamp and hotel information laid out in soldier rows underneath the mirror. Flat-screen TV aimed somewhere between the two beds.

“It looks fine,” she said.

Paul smiled slightly. “I think you missed the emphasis,” he said. “This is our room. One room for all three of us. It’s the last room.”

She didn’t want to look at either of them. Bad enough that she had to share a room with colleagues, but if there were winks or swiftly hidden smiles it would make things worse. A drink after a conference was one thing; this was another level, another rise in the slope to intimacy. There was a flash in her head of Drew’s long fingers tapping patterns on his leg during the taxi ride. If it had been the two of them, alone in this hotel room… She suppressed a smile.

When she glanced back at them, their expressions were blank. It gave her confidence. “We’ll manage,” she said briskly. “Is there a pullout bed?”

Paul’s expression eased slightly in the face of her breezy acceptance. “No. They’re already taken.”

“Then we’ll toss for the floor.” Digging in her bag, she produced three quarters. “Odd one out gets the floor.”
Gina and Paul tossed heads, and Drew tails. He pulled a face. “I’ll live.”

Movement gave her a focus. She checked the wardrobe, pulling out spare pillows in plastic wrap and two blankets.
Drew regarded her gloomily, then switched his gaze to Paul. “You better spring for a decent dinner, boss.”

The hotel bar was crowded, not only with guests, but with many travelers and their luggage. Paul found them seats at the bar, and pulled over the menu. “I suggest we get our order in; they’re bound to be busy.”

His words were prophetic. Three glasses of wine later, and Gina’s world took on a muted ethereal quality. Her colleagues were sharp-focused against a background of pattern and color. She could have been anywhere; the edges of her reality stopped at their corner of the bar. When the food finally arrived, she found she wasn’t hungry, and merely picked at the assortment of chicken wings and other fried snacks. She sipped on another glass of wine and watched the men gnaw on the chicken, dunk fries into catsup. But the conversation ran free, and she matched their tall tales with her own. Some were even true.

When they finally made it back to their room, all she wanted was to get her head on the pillow and sleep. The wine made her head spin, and she tucked a hand in the crook of each of their arms and let them lead her in. She claimed the bathroom and emerged soon after in the long T-shirt she slept in. Ignoring Drew’s mutterings about the floor, she slipped into the far bed and turned her back to sleep.

When she woke, an hour or a few later, the moonlight shone through the window that none of them had bothered to cover with the drapes. The silver light illuminated the room, softening its austere look, turning edges to shining silver. The room overlooked the freeway, eerily deserted in the moonlight, the snow falling softly blurring the edges between dream and reality. There was little sound; merely the distant hum of heating. And then Gina heard the soft intake of breath, the rustle of sheets in the next bed. She lay quiet on her back, eyes open into the silver air. A murmur, the slow drag of sheet over skin, a gentle creak as someone shifted position. Carefully, she turned her head to the left. There in the next bed, Drew and Paul lay together, their lower bodies underneath the sheet, their arms entwined. Kissing, their lips meshing, blending, then parting for a breath, before returning to sup at each other’s mouths. Their upper bodies gleamed with starlight, highlighting the contrast between sharp fingers and bulky curved muscle. With a rustle of sheet, Drew moved over on top of Paul and bent his head to taste again.

Her short intake of breath sounded loud in the room. Gina closed her eyes, wishing she could take back the sound. They were so beautiful. Their bodies melding, Drew’s golden furred body against Paul’s leaner, darker one. But the men had frozen at the sound. The room hung poised in the moonlight, a tableau of spiraling passion etched in the silver light.

Gina swallowed, and her mouth opened to say, “Sorry,” or “Please do carry on,” or “Don’t mind me,” and she gripped the sheet, prepared to turn her back to them, to give them what privacy she could, when Paul stretched out a hand, over the space between the two beds.

“Join us,” he said.

She could have said no. It would have been easier to smile, turn away, even to leave the room and sleep on a couch in the bar with other travelers. But her hesitation gave the men confidence.

Drew raised up from Paul and fixed her in his gaze. “Join us,” he said in echo of Paul.